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Tamper with House of Lords at our peril

One reads with much concern your report that Ulster Unionist peer Lord Laird of Artigarvan has been effectively gagged after tabling parliamentary questions for the House of Lords.

It should never be forgotten, amidst the debate on the future of their Lordships' House, that the House of Lords is an essential scrutinising chamber, exercising more caution in passing legislation often badly drafted by, or for, elected MPs (particularly the governing party) in the House of Commons. In my opinion, we need a second legislative chamber to prevent Parliament becoming an elected dictatorship, in a similar fashion to the way that a unicameral legislature at Stormont has proved to be a dictatorship.

The Northern Ireland Parliament, destroyed by Ted Heath in 1972, was a bicameral legislature and a far better guarantor of freedom than successive experiments masquerading as democratically elected assemblies at Stormont have been, ever since. We tamper with the composition and the role of the House of Lords at our peril.

CHRISTOPHER LUKE

Kent

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