Second wave of Lords donor list appointments must be stopped, say campaigners

By agency reporter
August 19, 2020

Democracy campaigners have reacted with outrage to reports that the Prime Minister is pushing ahead with plans for a ‘donors list’ – giving those who have funded the Conservatives ‘votes on our laws for life’ in the second chamber.

Both Private Eye and The Telegraph cite No 10 sources in reporting that donors – including those whobhave already been rejected by the House of Lords Appointments Commission  – will be given seats in the House of Lords in the coming months. It follows the ‘cronyistic’ move to pack the chamber with 36 peers at the end of July. The Lords now has over 800 members, making it the largest upper house in the world.

The reports come after damning new expenses revelations in the second chamber, while 400,000 people have signed an ERS petition calling for the Lords to be scrapped and replaced with a far smaller, PR-elected house.

Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: “Not satisfied with appointing several party donors in the latest round of peerages, the Prime Minister looks set to pack the chamber with even more funders. To the public, this stinks. For voters, this has all the elements of a cash-for-peerages scandal. It is simply unacceptable in a democracy for party donors to be handed votes on our laws for life.

“The unelected Lords is already unfit for purpose. If more donors are handed seats for life, this marks the end of any pretence that it is an independent revising chamber. It is a corrupting influence at the heart of Westminster, and Prime Ministers simply cannot help themselves. It is now urgent – for the sake of our democracy – that we move to a proportionally-elected revising chamber, where there can be no whiff of cronyism or cash-for-seats. Voters must decide who votes on our laws. As it stands, these plans for a ‘donors list’ are an outrage and must be stopped while parties bring back plans for real reform of the unelected house.”

* Read ERS research on the background of the new Lords appointed in July here

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

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