Poll shows overwhelming opposition to new Lords appointments

By agency reporter
February 15, 2018

Voters are overwhelmingly opposed to any new appointments to the House of Lords, according to new BMG Research polling.

Sixty per cent of those with a view oppose the mooted appointments – compared to just nine per cent who support them, according to the poll for the Electoral Reform Society. Fifty-nine per cent of Conservatives with a view are against the new peerages, as well as 63 per cent of Labour voters. The findings come ahead of an expected announcement that around 15 new peers will be appointed.

Seventy-eight per cent of those with a view think there are already too many Lords – compared to just 18 per cent who think the current size of nearly 800 is ‘about right’.

The figures are the same for Conservative voters, with nearly four in five (78 per cent) believing the second chamber is too large, while 76 per cent of Labour voters say the Lords is oversized (17 per cent think it is ‘about right’).

Of those with a view, 93 per cent of UKIP supporters believe the Lords has too many members.

The latest batch of Lords appointments come despite a recent report commissioned by the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, proposing a ‘two-out, one-in’ system to bring the total down to 600 by 2027. The ERS believe the new appointments "make a mockery our democracy".

Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: “Clearly voters are fed up. There is overwhelming cross-party opposition to these new peerages, with both Conservative and Labour supporters opposing their leaders’ plans for extra appointments to this already-bloated house.

“The public are tired of cronyism. Packing this oversized chamber with yet more donors and ex-MPs is not going to do any good for trust in politics. The House of Lords is already the second largest legislative chamber in the world, behind China’s National People’s Congress. There are more peers than could ever sit in the chamber at the same time, and the bulk of the work of the House is done by a much smaller group of peers.

“Both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn should cancel these planned appointments and say enough is enough. There is a lot of public anger out there – calling a halt to these costly additions would send a strong signal that the days of patronage and political favours are over.

“It’s time for a moratorium on new appointments until a clear plan of action is in place for long-overdue reform of a house that is bursting at the seams.”

*The BMG Research polling commissioned by the Electoral Reform Society was conducted between 6 and 9 February 2018. The polling was of a weighted sample of 1,507 GB adults, aged 18+. Fieldwork was conducted online. Non-response from different demographic groups was taken into account during the fieldwork phase and post-fieldwork adjustments.

The questions asked were:

  • It has been reported that in the coming weeks Theresa May is set to appoint 12 new members of the House of Lords and Jeremy Corbyn is set to appoint 3 new members. To what extent do you support or oppose further appointments being made to the House of Lords?
  • There are currently 794 members of the House of Lords. In your view, is this too many, too few, or is the number about right?

* Electoral Reform Society https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/

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