What staying power the House of Lords has. Despite everyone wanting to reform it and bring in a majority of elected peers it just defies its critics and actually expands as the House of Commons is set to contract.


By the time of the next election in 2015 the number of MPs constituencies will have fallen but, the coalition government that will oversee this has increased the number of those entitled to sit in the House of Lords by 147 in record time. The number of Lords now far exceeds the number of MPs.

Now there is talk by Nick Clegg, the deputy PM and LibDem leader, of House of Lords reform.

He wants to see the number of those in the upper chamber slashed and then 80% of new members voted in.

But as ever with the UK system of passing laws (a ping-pong contest between the lower and upper houses) this means that ultimately the Lords will effectively be asked to abolish itself in its current form. A sort of political Seppuku.

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay told BBC1's Politics Show "I don’t believe that this well-stuffed House of turkeys is going to vote for Christmas. Sorry. This is a must-do for us. Obviously it would have very serious consequences if the Conservatives don’t go through with the pledge that we both made" and went on to say that the Parliament Act would be needed to force it through.

But we are also forgetting all those politicians in the lower house that have aspirations to the higher order, even if it is a second prize given to those that ultimately fail. Remember that arch socialist John Prescott, now Baron Prescott of Kingston-upon-Hull under the explanation that it would help him 'hold the government to account'. With fewer, if any red leather seats available for gifting one can see anyone in the current system backing any spurious argument against proper reform. Even though an EU post could be offered. So using the Parliament Act to force reform through may not be the no-brainer people think.

40 Lords got together and trotted out the predictable arguments, one that an elected Lords (or Senate) could be seen as having equal or greater legitimacy to the House of Commons, two that an appointed chamber can properly reflect the gender and ethnicity of the country, three that an elected chamber could strip away expertise and talent and fourth the proposed system could produce two classes of peers.

In order to prevent himself being seen as some sort of constitutional evangelist after the AV debacle, Nick Clegg is expected to step back and let senior Tories, Mark Harper and Lord Strathclyde, make the running.

David Cameron it seems is lukewarm to the idea believing it a project for a second or third term (hopeful thinking there then) and many think he will push it our to committee.

The politicians may be playing games with the House of Lords but what do the voters think? Elected or Appointed?


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