I’m not one for giving up and I am determined to keep pushing for the abolition of hereditary peers from the House of Lords. These are people, 91 men and only 1 woman, who owe their ability to make laws and question the Government for no reason other than accident of birth.
The Government want to shrink the size of the democratically elected House of Commons but want to do nothing with the bloated House of Lords. All they need to do is support my Bill or the Bill of my colleague Lord Grocott and we can see the end of this undemocratic quirk in our Parliament.
Today, I presented a Bill to the House of Commons to continue to press for hereditary peers to be abolished from the House of Lords. This would mark a small but significant reform of the House of Lords. If parliament adopt this Bill it could be used to navigate the next chapter of the Lords in its slow march towards a more democratic and accountable future.
My Bill continues the efforts of Lord Bruce Grocott who recently introduced a Private Members Bill to the House of Lords to bring an end to the by-elections of hereditary peers. This version of the Bill would have incrementally eroded away hereditary peers from the Upper Chamber as they would not be replaced once they departed the House. Read more “Introducing my House of Lords Reform Bill”
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. Read more “Cabinet Office Questions: House of Lords Reform”
On Wednesday, I attended the Opposition Day Debate on House of Lords reform.
As many of you will know, I recently proposed a Ten Minute Rule Bill that sought to abolish the Hereditary Peers, in the House of Lords my Bill is being replicated by Lord Grocott.
I took this opportunity to argue once again for reform of the Lords. I understand that there is not widespread agreement on what action to take. That is why I proposed three simple steps that would bring about the democratisation people are calling out for in Parliament.
The first proposal was the abolition of hereditary peers. It is plainly wrong that people get to sit in our Parliament and set laws for no other reason other than an accident of birth.
My second suggestion is not to fill vacancies until the size of the House of Lords gets down to that of the House of Commons. What is wrong with that? I want massive change—I have voted to abolish the Lords—but in the absence of consensus, let us look at how we can reduce the number of Members over time. That is perfectly reasonable.
The third suggestion may be revolutionary, but it is an attempt to find a compromise. I agree with the Government that Members of Parliament should represent equal numbers of constituents. Let us do that, but let us keep 650 MPs and have a boundary review on that basis, as my hon. Friend the Member for Wansbeck said. In my part of the world, Wales, we would lose seats under such a review—we have 55,000 to 60,000 electors in each constituency—but we would have the same number of constituents and reasonable representation. But, no, this Government are seeking to reduce the representation from 650 to 600 Members, while in previous 18 months the former Prime Minister appointed 132 peers to the House of Lords.
Once again the Government voted down any chance of reform of the Lords 278 to 245.