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Cabinet Office Questions: House of Lords Reform

On Wednesday, I asked the Cabinet Office Minister, Chris Skidmore MP, what reasons do the Government hold for blocking Lord Grocott’s House of Lords reform Bill to end the ludicrous situation of hereditary peers remaining in our parliament.

As you will be aware, I have been pushing for House of Lords reform for some time now. I have so far introduced a Ten Minute Rule Bill and next week I will be introducing a new Bill to remove hereditary peers for the House of Lords.

The Lords has got too big. It is undemocratic and the hereditary peers are the worst example of this. 92 members sit on the red benches through nothing but accident of birth. Some hereditary peers are members because their ancestors during the succession of the Stuarts to the throne were the first Englishmen to reach Scotland and congratulate the new royal family.

Labour started the substantial reform of the House of Lords and it was expected that the hereditary peers would be the next to go. But our efforts have been stymied by Conservatives who place tradition over transparency. It is clearly wrong that we have people making our laws who hold that high honour because of their blue blood.

The Minister replied that the Government does not want to pursue Lords reform. Instead it wants to allow the Lords to implement reform themselves. This seems like the Government are hoping that turkeys will vote for Christmas.

I will continue to push for Lords reform. My Bill next week may only be a gradual one, but it is one that is easy to implement and allows for the evolution of our legislature. I hope that the Government will realise that they should back my, and Lord Grocott’s, efforts in removing this relic.

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