Campaigners claim victory as PM reportedly drops plans for new peers

By agency reporter
February 16, 2018

Campaigners have hailed a ‘victory for voters’, after the Prime Minister reportedly dropped plans to ‘stack’ the House of Lords with new peers.

The news follows a BMG poll for the Electoral Reform Society which revealed the scale of opposition to the plans.

Theresa May had originally intended to appoint around a dozen Conservative peers, while Jeremy Corbyn was set to appoint three – with the appointments to be made in the coming weeks. However, the Prime Minister appears to have shelved the plans.

On Tuesday the Electoral Reform Society released BMG Research polling which showed that 59 per cent of Conservatives are against the new peerages, as well as 63 per cent of Labour voters (excluding don’t knows).

Of those with a view, 60 per cent of the public oppose the mooted appointments – compared to just nine per cent who support them.

And nearly four in five (78 per cent) of those with a view believe there are already too many Lords, with the figures being the same for Conservative voters – 78 per cent believe the second chamber is too large.

Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said, “This is a significant victory for voters if true. There is overwhelming opposition to any new peerages, with the House of Lords already bursting at the seams.

“Adding yet more Lords would not only cost the taxpayer a fortune, it would be an insult to voters who deserve legislators who are accountable.

“After coming under huge pressure, Theresa May appears to have done the right thing. This could be a turning point in her leadership – and opens the door for finally giving voters the revising chamber we need.

“Rather than delaying these appointments, the government must now confirm they will not be packing the unelected chamber with any more Lords. We need a moratorium on all new appointments until there are real plans for reform.

“They could start by responding to the Burns Committee, which came back with piecemeal plans for a smaller house at the end of last year.

“But they should be far more ambitious, and ensure that their rhetoric about sovereignty and democracy after Brexit is matched by a fully- and fairly-elected revising chamber.”

In a statement on Tuesday, the ERS said, “Both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn should cancel these planned appointments and say enough is enough.”

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

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