A peerage? Try a gold watch instead, say democracy advocates

By staff writers
19 Nov 2010

The government's creation of 54 new peers to ease its position in the House of Lords has been condemned as cronyism by democracy campaigners.

The list of the enobled includes several major Conservative Party donors.

Critics say that the coalition government is trying to bolster its place in the Upper House in order to stall reform and limit future rebellions over controversial legislation.

Commenting on the announcment of the new peers, Peter Facey, director of the political reform group Unlock Democracy, commented: “If politicians and Prime Ministers want to reward their friends, instead of sending them to the House of Lords, what’s wrong with a gold watch?"

He continued: "People who make and amend our laws should be elected by the public, not selected for good deeds done in the past by grateful politicians. House of Lords reform is long overdue, yet despite much talk from this Government we have yet to see concrete proposals."

"We await the Governments proposals with baited breath. We don’t want this to turn into another broken promise. Until then these appointments will stick in the throat," said Facey.

"David Cameron should be mindful of the mess Tony Blair found himself in over the appointment of party donors to the Lords," said Angus MacNeil, the Scottish National Party MP who triggered the "cash for honours" inquiry" in 2006. "There should be no link between donations and peerages."

Unlock Democracy is a leading UK-wide campaign for democracy, rights and freedoms. It was formed in 2007 and is the successor organisation to Charter 88 and the New Politics Network, as well as the Power 2010 initiative.

[Ekk/3]

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