For more than a century, politicians have grappled with the issue of House of Lords reform. Last month, a bill was presented to parliament that aims to resolve the issue once and for all.
At its heart is the requirement that 80 per cent of House of Lords members are to be elected by the British public for a non-renewable 15-year term. Gone will be the life peers, and in their place a system that enables members to resign, to be expelled and to be suspended. No longer will members be able to claim £300 a day simply for turning up; instead pay will be related to their level of input into parliamentary business.
Opponents to the bill claim there is no public appetite for it; that it is a waste of parliamentary time; that an elected Lords would challenge the authority of the House of Commons. Yet these voices have failed to acknowledge one crucial factor – that an unelected second chamber has no place in a country that prides itself on its democratic principles.
16 July 2012
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