Give the electorate a referendum on the abolition of the House of Lords

#21
Government's reply to the petition, as per this morning's email:

As stated in our manifesto, comprehensive reform of the House of Lords is not a priority for this parliament.
Therefore, the Government does not intend to hold a referendum on the abolition of the House of Lords.
As set out in the manifesto, comprehensive reform of the House of Lords is not a priority. Therefore, the Government does not intend to hold a referendum on the abolition of the House.
The Government is committed to ensuring that the House of Lords continues to fulfil its constitutional role as a revising and scrutinising chamber which respects the primacy of the House of Commons. We will also continue to work to ensure that the House of Lords remains relevant and effective by addressing issues such as its size.
The Lord Speaker’s committee on the size of the House of Lords, chaired by Lord Burns, made recommendations in October 2017 on ways of reducing the size of the House without requiring legislation. In response, The Prime Minister has written to the Lord Speaker and agreed to continue with the restraint she has shown so far when making appointments to the House. It is incumbent on all sides of the House to consider what they can do to further promote the culture of retirement. In light of the Prime Minister's letter, the Lord Speaker has reconvened the Committee to consider next steps.
 
#22
Some good points above.

How about this:

1. Abolish all hereditary peers from sitting unless they meet the same criteria as other members. I don't care what great-grandad did.

There have been two problems commonly discussed over the last 100 years: A. the threat of governments enabling lots of peers in a job lot to get their way (threatening independence of the Upper House) and B. The lack of any form of proportional representation in politics. Look at the shares of votes for Greens, Lib Dems and even UKIP compared to the seats awarded. Now IMHO to have PR in the HoC would be a disaster but having it in the HoL would be a very evident reflection of the 'popular' vote. So..

2. Have the HoL elected by PR. For most PR systems you don't have constituency MP: each party puts forward a 'list' of candidates. So under this hybrid system you'd vote for your MP as present, and the share of votes that goes to his/her party would then be used to see how far down the list each party got. To be a 'Lord' you could have to meet some criteria of eligibility such as absence of a criminal record, for example, but ultimately it would be the choice of the party (much like selecting candidates is now).

With this arrangement they could still be called 'lords' and given life peerages, but they would only be 'voting lords' if they made the cut. So their career depends on how effective they are at attending, debating etc. Lord Lucan is unlikely to get nominated twice because the bästard never turns up.
 
#23
Government's reply to the petition, as per this morning's email:

Ok, so they will at some point in the future debate the thorny subject of "Reforming" the HoL, Do turkeys vote for Christmas? its not going to happen in any tangible way, that will make any substantial difference to the Victorian concepts that prevails. The HoL will still exist in its present form for many years to come. Its too entrenched in the political machine. What must, and I hope will happen is people like sleazy peter Mandelson, and old guard corrupt union bosses, like Frank chapple, be excluded from ever donning ermine.
 
#24
I once found myself in the unusual position of agreeing with something that Tony Benn said. He was on Question Time talking about hereditary peers.

He said something along the lines of "People should not get to sit in Parliament just because one of their ancestors was a drinking buddy of a medieval king."

Of course, the fact that the same system of patronage exists today between those with money and those with political power was lost on Tony. No reason why communist trade unionists should not be handed seats in Parliament decades after we stopped electing communist MPs. No reason why millionaire Tory donors shouldn't get the same treatment.

The House of Lords is a farce. TV footage of doddery old buggers fast asleep on the red benches isn't a charming example British eccentricity, it's an affront to democracy. Is there another country in the world with a bicameral parliament that includes an unelected second chamber?

The second chamber should be wholly elected. There should be a limited number of members - the Americans make do with 100 senators for a country five times the size of Britain.

Political power and the nobility were all but separated hundreds of years ago. Time to finish this process I think. There's a documentary about the HoL on YouTube. Video quality is bad but the content is quite interesting.

 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#25
All the time that the HoL is a depository for those rewarded for sycophancy and bribery to the party in power at the time you will have a 2nd House that will do anything to justify its existence. Take Brexit, most of those that are making waves will have a vested interest in keeping the own EU gravy train flowing.
F---ed over by Tony Blair. Many of the hereditary peers were cross-benchers with significant expertise in many subjects who voted according to their opinions and consciences, not according to party lines.

Instead of 350 generally well informed hereditary peers, we now have around 800 party hacks who vote according to political affiliation.

It's difficult to see the old hereditary peers behaving in the same way as the current lot. They would have seen it as their duty to ensure Brexit went forward in the most constructive way for the country, amending or modifying legislation to that end. They would not have seen their role as obstructing the result of a democratic referendum.

Cheers Blair, you c***.

Wordsmith
 
#26
Progressives always miss the point of the HoL. The peerage should be entirely hereditary, or awards for generals etc with no political appointments. The point is for them to be there for the long game rather than the 5 years of MPs and to be impartial, so they see something daft come up and they don't say "well it's my party so best agree" they say "this is f*cking ridiculous, absolutely not letting this one through"
 
#27
Never happen again look what happened when call me Dave gave the plebs a choice
Quite they've trashed the prospects for this country as well as our reputation for stability and pragmatism.

Why not go the whole way and wreck the hundreds year old parliament we've apparently returned sovereignty to?

Still, Corbyn will be happy. Perhaps he can use the abolition of the Lord's as a springboard for the abolition of that other unelected institution, the monarchy.

Be careful what you wish for. Unintended consequences etc
 
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Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#28
Quite they've trashed the prospects for this country as well as our reputation for stability and pragmatism.

Why not go the whole way and wreck the parliament we've apparently returned sovereignty to?

Still, Corbyn will be happy. Perhaps he can use the abolition of the Lord's as a springboard for the abolition of that other unelected institution, the monarchy.

Be careful what you wish for. Unintended consequences etc
Are you on a mission to wreck every thread on Arrse thus ensuring your retention of the SPOTY prize?
 
#29
F---ed over by Tony Blair. Many of the hereditary peers were cross-benchers with significant expertise in many subjects who voted according to their opinions and consciences, not according to party lines.

Instead of 350 generally well informed hereditary peers, we now have around 800 party hacks who vote according to political affiliation.

It's difficult to see the old hereditary peers behaving in the same way as the current lot. They would have seen it as their duty to ensure Brexit went forward in the most constructive way for the country, amending or modifying legislation to that end. They would not have seen their role as obstructing the result of a democratic referendum.

Cheers Blair, you c***.

Wordsmith
In 1997, before Blair did his "reforms", there were rather more entitled to sit in the HoL
Composition of the House of Lords in December 1997
Hereditary peers 750
Life peers 465
Law Lords 26
Archbishops, bishops 26
Hereditary peers of first creation 9
Total 1,274

650 Hereditary peers had their right to sit in the HoL removed by the reform act of 1999.
There are now around 800 members.
But I agree the current political hacks should go. Being able to fill the benches (for any party) is an affront no matter which way you look at it.
 
#30
Are you on a mission to wreck every thread on Arrse thus ensuring your retention of the SPOTY prize?
It's not unreasonable for the abolition of the upper house to lead to the abolition of a hereditary HoS, in my view
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#31
In 1997, before Blair did his "reforms", there were rather more entitled to sit in the HoL
Composition of the House of Lords in December 1997
Hereditary peers 750
Life peers 465
Law Lords 26
Archbishops, bishops 26
Hereditary peers of first creation 9
Total 1,274

650 Hereditary peers had their right to sit in the HoL removed by the reform act of 1999.
There are now around 800 members.
But I agree the current political hacks should go. Being able to fill the benches (for any party) is an affront no matter which way you look at it.
Especially when there are so many Lib Dems who have absolutely no chance of ever running the country!
 
#32
I remember hearing once that the Lords by the most part acted in the best interests of the nation, having no short term goal of re-election or political slant. Most hereditary peers took their role seriously.

I don't think they should be elected.
But a new generation should be recruited in addition to the existing Lords based on quotas from certain sectors:

Ret'd Military VSOs
Ret'd Senior Civil Servants
Ret'd Police CC, ACC, DCCs/Likewise for other emergency services
Industry
Science
Academics
Ret'd senior medics

This should have the effect of combining a wide knowledge base with life experience and confidence to do something. This will be their sole employment and they will be expected to attend, tenure will be 10-15 years to allow for long term planning and foresight. Political parties should be banned from raising former MPs and members of the public like the awful examples of Doreen Lawrence and Peter Mandelson.
 
#33
I remember hearing once that the Lords by the most part acted in the best interests of the nation, having no short term goal of re-election or political slant. Most hereditary peers took their role seriously.

I don't think they should be elected.
But a new generation should be recruited in addition to the existing Lords based on quotas from certain sectors:

Ret'd Military VSOs
Ret'd Senior Civil Servants
Ret'd Police CC, ACC, DCCs/Likewise for other emergency services
Industry
Science
Academics
Ret'd senior medics

This should have the effect of combining a wide knowledge base with life experience and confidence to do something. This will be their sole employment and they will be expected to attend, tenure will be 10-15 years to allow for long term planning and foresight. Political parties should be banned from raising former MPs and members of the public like the awful examples of Doreen Lawrence and Peter Mandelson.
Quite agree.

How to avoid cronyism?

Who should appoint them to this end?
 
#34
How about an option to roll back the Blair reforms, sack all the hack Life peers and go back to pure hereditaries, lawyers and clergy?
 

skid2

LE
Book Reviewer
#35
Hang on to it. Most of the moaning seems to be coming from the brexiters. As its exercising its sovereignty.
I suspect we'll be very glad of them during the Labour McDonnell years
 
#37
Quite agree.

How to avoid cronyism?

Who should appoint them to this end?
Some sort of powerless, bureaucratic, unelected committee? Got to make it unworkable somehow ;-)
 
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#38
The role of the upper chamber is to review and amend the work of the lower house. A system of checks and balances. The people sitting in that chamber therefore should be appropriate to that role.

I don't see the need for the members to be ennobled; the people who they have a part in governing are almost certainly not ennobled. The title of at least "Lord" therefore detaches the members from the population. I would certainly afford some title to the office, but not something that grants the title "Lady" to the member's wife and requires an ermine cloak and weird titfer. How about "Most Honourable", leading on from Privy Councillors' "Right Honourable"?

I think they should be elected, because that's how democracy should work. What I would not agree with is campaigning by the prospective member to be elected. A year ahead of the election, ask for local nominations for each constituency, with a bio/backgrounder on the prospective candidate. The candidate should not be able to nominate themselves. Publish these on a website, in libraries etc. Then let the electorate choose on the day. I'm thinking doctors, lawyers, retired military, community champions etc.

Term? Something different from the HoC, maybe 5 years for HoC and 7.5 for upper chamber. Just to ensure there is some turnover (and therefore accountability to the electorate) during a parliament.

I'd have an age bracket of say 40-70 on entry, so the oldest they could be is 77.5, and also have a maximum of two consecutive terms, so the longest they could sit is 15 years in a oner.

Above all, it needs to be connected to the population and above reproach. It's neither of those things today.
 
#39
I think they should be elected, because that's how democracy should work.
How democracy should work is each person over 18 gets one vote and in decision making, the side that has the most votes wins. Unfortunately there are 48% of those who voted in the Brexit referendum don't get that and a large number of idiots in the HoL trying their damnedest to subvert that process.
 
#40
If there is one thing that the "Leave" vote guaranteed, it is......the British people will never get another referendum on anything.
 

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