Changing the Lords - for good

By Simon Barrow
March 11, 2010

Almost everyone now sees the need for a reformed second chamber in parliament - where minorities can be properly represented, legislation decently scrutinised, and government held fairly in check.

That is why we are today teaming up publicly with Power2010 and a range of other civic and faith groups, as well as thousands of individuals, to ask those who currently sit 'by right' in the unelected House of Lords, to help move the reform agenda decisively forward.

Power 20101 have just set up an easy-to-use tool which lets you contact the Church of England Bishops who sit in Parliament - and call on them to engage positively with democratic renewal, providing the leadership so badly needed on the issue.

We have sent our messages, and we're encouraging you and others to send yours as well by clicking here:

It is time to stop people making laws without real accountability. Now you can add your voice to thousands of others calling for a way of making that happen.

Real change, we believe, as Christians and as citizens, comes from the grassroots. That's why Ekklesia has promulgated five key principles which we think are not just fit for Lords reform, but for the representative political system per se:

* people of faith should participate alongside others in public life through civic action, free debate and good example - not through special reserved places and exemptions

* members of the second chamber should be elected, publicly accountable and recallable - not based on the appointed status and privilege for a few

* legislation should be scrutinised for its impact on the most vulnerable in society - not primarily the rich and powerful

* membership should be open to independent and minority elected voices - not dominated by the big party machines

* Parliamentary business should be discussed and voted upon in ways that encourage common action, co-operation and understanding of differences - rather than division and confrontation.

These are among the points we hope the bishops can be persuaded to take very seriously. Encourage them here:

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.