Monday, 9 July 2012

House of Lords reform (next)

The House of Lords Reform Bill 2012 has been introduced in the House of Commons and debate will start in earnest this afternoon. Some specious arguments against discussing reform at this time are dealt with in a previous post. I would only add that this is the best chance for a generation of putting the second chamber on a sound democratic footing. So far, this parliament has proved to be the most reforming of its own institutions since the great Liberal administrations of the Edwardian era. The opportunity must be taken to build on this before the Commons ossifies again.

There are one or two features of the Bill which could be improved: the inclusion of Church of England bishops in the reformed upper house, the use of party lists for the ballot and the timing of elections. I can't see the Conservatives giving up on the former or Labour on the second, but there is no reason why the committees in either House should not see the difficulties in the tie to Commons elections and improve things. That is, of course, if the unholy alliance between Tory traditionalists and Labour weasels does not talk the Bill out.

Check on too.

[Later] "Unlock Democracy"'s director has a good post on Liberal Democrat Voice.

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