Next week a by-election takes place with only 31 electors eligible to vote. No, this isn’t for some corrupt body or dictatorship this is an election to our very own Houses of Parliament.
The House of Lords still has 92 hereditary peers who are only in the Lords because of their ancestors ability to cozy up to the elite at the time. I have a Bill to abolish them once and for all, but the UK Government keeps blocking it.
The minister says it was Labour that produced the current arrangements. That is only because the Tories blocked our original plans to abolish hereditary peers in the late 1990s. If they would have supported us we wouldn’t be in this ridiculous situation.
The minister proudly stated that they won the General Election and their manifesto set in stone that they will not reform the House of Lords. All the while they continue to want to shrink the democratically elected Commons in their favour.
Already this week I have taken part in a Westminster Hall Debate on House of Lords reform and called on the Government to scrap hereditary peers once and for all.
During the debate the Minister indicated that the Government will give up its time in the House of Lords to debate the recent report in Lords reform, but it became glaringly obvious that they were not intending on doing so for the democratically elected Commons. I used Business Questions today to call on the Government to give up its own time to debate this important matter. The Leader of the House said that debating the right of a small minority of people to create our laws and question our government due only to accident of birth was not a matter of high importance. This is ridiculous and the Government must accept my Bill and get rid of the hereditary peers now.
As you will know, I have long campaigned for the hereditary principle to be abolished in our democracy.
Last week in the by-election following the death of Lord Lyell, 346 valid votes were cast. All current members of the House who have taken the oath, 803 in total, were edible to vote.
On the first count, of the 27 candidates, 26 received one or more first-preference votes. After 25 transfers of votes, the votes for final two candidates were:
Lord Bethell 108
Lord Colgrain 143
Lord Colgrain now gets a seat in our Parliament for life on a turnout of just 43%, bearing in mind the electorate are supposed to be political people so you would think would bother to vote. That means that he won the vote with only 17% of the potential electorate. That is a ridiculous situation.
This is now the 5th by-election to be held in the House of Lords since the 2015 General Election.
I have always voted to reform or abolish the House of Lords as I see it as a hangover of a time and place that no longer exists within the UK. But I feel the removal of hereditary peers is a step we could all agree with and then continue with further reform as the next course of action. Read more “House of Lords Reform: Westminster Hall Debate”
Today, I pushed for my hereditary peers abolition Bill to be supported and introduced by the Government.
This week an election took place to one of the most exclusive group of legislators in the world. The House of Lords held a by-election to fill one of the 92 hereditary peer seats in the Lords. This follows the sad death of Lord Lyell, who was one of 15 hereditary peers elected by the whole House in 1999. The winner of the by-election will be able to make our laws, question ministers and have a platform on which to make their views heard.
The hereditary peers were a compromise by the last Labour Government to ensure that urgent reform was achieved. But this was only a stepping stone and the remaining 92 hereditary peers were never supposed to be a long-term feature of the new Lords.
I believe now is the time to remove the hereditary principle from our democracy once and for all. There are a large number of different opinions on how the Lords should be reformed, but there is a consensus that the hereditary peers should be scrapped once and for all. Read more “Abolition of Hereditary Peers”