Reformers challenge PM on ‘hypocrisy’ over size of House of Lords

By agency reporter
February 22, 2018

Campaigners are calling on the Government to take a firm stance on reforming the House of Lords in light of mixed messages from Number Ten.

The Prime Minister said on 20 February that she wants the size of the House of Lords to be reduced, and she urged all parties to do more to encourage peers to retire. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/25227)

But at the same time she revealed new peers will be created in “due course”, which will only add numbers to the bloated chamber.

There are currently 792 peers making the House of Lords the second largest legislative chamber in the world, after China’s National People’s Congress.

Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said, “There is a blatant contradiction in what the Prime Minister has said... While we welcome her stated intention to reduce the size of the House of Lords, in reality she is merely paying lip service to the issue.

“Calling on parties to encourage their peers to resign is not enough – in fact it misses the point. The most effective way to shrink the second chamber is to move to a slimmed-down, fairly-elected chamber. Voters are tired of unaccountable Lords making laws on their behalf.

“We’ve seen scandal after scandal in the unelected house. There is now clear support for making the second chamber genuinely accountable – rather than just another Westminster private members’ club.

“If the Prime Minister is serious about reducing the number of peers she should lead by example and suspend all new appointments until there are real plans for reform. We need clarity from Number 10 on the issue – not what looks like hypocrisy.”

The result of polling, published by the Electoral Reform Society earlier this month, revealed nearly four in five (78 per cent) of those with a view believe there are already too many Lords.

And 60 per cent of the public oppose the mooted appointments – compared to just nine per cent who support them.

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

[Ekk/6]

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