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It's time to bring about reform

Published 02/09/2015

The recent appointments to the House of Lords highlight the complete lack of momentum for reform of the Second House. A good start would be to remove all the trappings and titles of nobility, since hereditary dukes, earls and the rest no longer have the birthright of a Lords seat.

Much of the attraction for appointees, well understood by an appointing PM, is the kudos of titles and ermine robes, constituting a pat on the back for party loyalty or financial support.

Likewise, with the old hereditary peers gone, it is unacceptable to have seats reserved for senior clergy.

The Senate would be a perfectly acceptable name for the second house of our parliament, and whether or not its members (senators) ought to be elected should be a matter for debate.

But if the Senate were seen as a serious debating and regulating chamber, with members bringing readily identifiable experience, wisdom, skill and expertise to the floor, its credibility as part of a democratic parliament would be infinitely improved.

GRAHAM BEARD

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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