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House of Lords has no credibility while unelected

Published 02/09/2015

The outcry at David Cameron's latest appointments to the House of Lords is entirely justified.

The credibility of the second chamber is once again an issue, this time over the number and quality of appointments, and the Conservatives' crass attempts to invent a constitutional rule that the Government is entitled to a majority there.

To fend off the wave of criticism, the Prime Minister is now said to favour term appointments to reduce the numbers. This or other palliatives, such as a retirement age, avoid the fundamental issue.

It should be the electors, not the Government, who choose those who make the laws and scrutinise the executive. Without democratic legitimacy, the second chamber is unable to perform its functions as effectively as it should.

The House should be wholly (or largely) directly elected by proportional representation. It should have defined functions and powers, enhancing its present roles of revision and scrutiny, while maintaining the primacy of the Commons.

Making it elected would mean that it represented all parts of the country equally, while giving the nations and regions of the UK a new voice at Westminster.


Campaign for a Democratic Upper House

Belfast Telegraph

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