Lords reform part of a larger picture

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Commenting on the latest YouGov poll showing public support for a democratic second chamber at Westminster, Simon Barrow, co-director of the beliefs and values thinktank Ekklesia, which has also argued for widespread political reform in Britain, commented:

"The case for change is now overwhelming, but the exact nature of the change is still up for discussion. A second chamber at Westminster clearly needs to be democratically accountable, not oligarchical.

"But it would be a pity if it simply reproduced the dominance and stranglehold of the big three UK parties. Wider and more diverse representation is needed.

"The anomaly of representatives of one branch of one religion having a place as of right in the legislature should also be tackled.

"Everyone, whether religious or non-religious, should be in parliament because they have been elected and chosen democratically, not because of reserved privileges.

"The issue of Lords reform should also not detract from the larger questions about the British settlement, the possibility of more devolved powers to different parts of what is now the UK, and possible independence for Scotland."

* See Ekklesia's earlier research paper, 'The state of independents: alternative politics' - http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/research/independent_politics

* The full polling results can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/lordspoll