I was interviewed on Sky News this week to discuss my Bill to remove the remaining 92 hereditary peers from Parliament.
It is completely wrong that 92 people, of which only 1 is a woman, are given a seat for life in Parliament – able to make our laws, question our Ministers and lobby organisations – based on what their Great Grandfather did for a previous monarch.
During the interview we discussed the Viscount Thurso and how he has been able to regenerate himself three times to ensure that he keeps a seat in Parliament. He was first thrown out of the Lords as a hereditary peer when Labour reformed it in 1999. He then renounced his hereditary title to win a seat for the Liberal Democrats in the 2001 General Election. He then lost the 2015 General Election and miraculously rediscovered his blue blood again to gain a seat in the Lords once more.
The hereditary peers make a mockery of Parliament and I will continue to press for my Bill to see them abolished on the stroke of midnight on 31 December 2019.
The absurd-ism that is the hereditary principle in the Houses of Parliament still continues, despite my Bill sitting ready and waiting for the Government to adopt it and remove hereditary peers.
In today’s Westminster Hall Debate I pressed for the removal of the remaining 92 hereditary peers who have their place in our parliament through accident of birth alone. It is clearly wrong that people who have no direct accountability to the public are able to make our laws, question our government and use the Houses of Parliament. I will continue to press on this matter until the hereditary peers are removed from our democracy.
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”