The old system is dead. It’s undemocratic, unaccountable, and unrepresentative.
The House of Lords are the heirs to the ancient Barons referred to in Constitutional documents. The role of the Barons in our constitution is to ensure, through due diligence, that any bills passed to them by the House of Commons, adhere to the Constitution, as Parliament may not make Constitutional amendments without ‘consent’. However, their ability to veto outright was ‘removed’ by the Parliament Act 1911 and 1949 therefore making a total mockery of the whole situation. It makes the Act and actually, the House of Lords, now unconstitutional and unlawful as it prevents the Lords from carrying out its duties.
No doubt, this is how John Major managed to pass through the Maastricht Treaty, Gordon Brown with the Lisbon Treaty and Tony Blair signing the European Constitution in Rome. No-one was there to protect our Constitution and therefore allowed more of our sovereignty and powers to be given away externally.
We are petitioning Boris Johnson to let the People’s Voice be heard. We DEMAND Reform. Please sign our Petition here to make your voice heard.
Please take the time to read below our suggestions for debate.
Let’s be honest, people now see it as a place honoured by has-been politicians, unelected parochial-minded individuals, totally out of touch with the views of the public and unrepresentative of the people. It’s an unaccountable, unelected, undemocratic establishment dominated by metropolitan, group-think, and conceited elite eager to put in their expenses and daily charge for a few measly days; for what? To be fair, they are not far off resembling the Brussels bureaucracy it worships.
Should they not be guardians of the Constitution? Should they not be totally responsible and representative of the democratic people?
Let’s have a debate and reform this club! Sign the Petition
There are 3 questions that need addressing.
- Firstly, what are the House of Lords and what is its purpose?
- The House of Lords is the second chamber of the UK Parliament. It is independent from, and complements the work of, the elected House of Commons.
- The Lords share the task of making and shaping laws.
- They check and challenge the work of the government and holding the government to account
Members of the House of Lords are ‘appointed’ not elected like MPs within the House of Commons, mainly by the main parties. Once appointed with their title, they sit for life and attend as and when they wish never facing re-election. There are currently 792 seats taken; of that total roughly 27.6% are women. The majority are Conservative and Labour. On reflection, there are 650 seats in the House of Commons. There are also included the Lords Spiritual which includes Archbishops of Canterbury and York to name two, and 24 other bishops.
The modern House of Lords’ powers are extremely limited. The House of Lords scrutinise bills that have been approved by the House of Commons. Reviews and amends Bills from the Commons. While it is unable to prevent Bills passing into law, it can delay Bills and force the Commons to reconsider their decisions but only on non-financial bills.
The House of Lords’ powers are defined in the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949.
In addition to its role as the upper house, the House of Lords acted as the final court of appeal in the U.K. judicial system. It used to consist of the judges of the Court of Appeal and the High Court of Justice. In 1998, the Blair Government introduced legislation to deprive hereditary peers of their 700 year old right to sit but allowed 92 of them to remain as temporary members (House of Lords Act 1999). In 2009, the Blair Government abolished this and in its place the Supreme Court came into being. The largest and overwhelming majority within the House of Lords are life peers – those chosen mainly by Conservative and Labour governments.
Members of the House of Lords can, since 2010, opt to receive a £310 per day attendance allowance plus limited travel expenses. Peers can elect to receive a reduced attendance allowance of £150 per day instead. Prior to 2010 peers from outside London could claim an overnight allowance of £174.
In essence, it has become the second House of Commons, but at a much larger capacity. Is it an efficient use of resources?
- Secondly, is the House of Lords democratic?
Democracy comes from the Greek ‘rule by the people’. The House of Lords are ‘appointed’ by political parties and are not ‘elected’ by the people. As we have seen in recent reports, Brexit being the most recent, the House of Lords does not seem to represent the majority of the people in the country. It may be that there is a very important and beneficial argument for a second chamber to be able to hold Parliament to account and check and challenge Bills, but unless a decision is taken as the percentage of the majority of the country, then it is neither democratic nor representative. Who do the House of Lords represent? To whom are they accountable? Why are ‘ordinary people’ not represented within? To be truly a democratic institution, then the people must be allowed the elect its members.
- Should the House of Lords be abolished or reformed?
In our personal opinion, we tend to lean towards the latter. We believe the last time the House of Lords was abolished was in 1649, after the Civil War, only to be reinstated in 1660.
If we are to reform the House of Lords then it needs to represent the people and what better way than to have a representation of ‘the people’ within? We believe this was announced in April 2001, from a list of 3,000 applicants but the media quite rightly pointed out that these were applicants chosen as they were all distinguished in their field and not ‘ordinary people’.
As it is today, it resembles more of a retired politician’s club.
(Cons 245, Lab.179, Crossbench 184, Lib Dems 91, Non-affiliated 51, Bishops 26 (unchangeable), DUP 4, Greens 2, Independent Labour 2, Ulster Unionists 2, Conservative Ind. 1, Ind.Ulster Unionist 1,Ind.Social Democrat 1, Lab Independent 1, Plaid Cymru 1 and 1 Lord Speaker).
- So what’s the answer?
The old system is dead. It’s undemocratic, unaccountable, and unrepresentative of the people to whom it serves. It is marred by alleged accusations of donations to major political parties in exchange for peerage, cash for questions and changes in the law; a corrupt relic that can no longer reside in a modern democracy.
As a democratic country, this important institution should be reformed so that it reflects not only its duties to the Constitution but is modernised and reflects the people of the UK.
Only around 26% of the House of Lords are women; 92 are hereditary peers. There is 1 Lord Speaker and 26 Bishops – the rest are from political parties or represent a political party.
This is just an example, quickly put together, but a good start to form a debate on how we could modernise the House of Lords to reflect.
So let’s start the debate with an example.
- The House of Lords must be elected.
- The House of Lords must represent the country as a whole
- The House of Lords must uphold and defend the Constitution
- The House of Lords must again be the highest court in the land
(the Supreme Court has proven itself to be unworthy and needs to be
- The House of Lords must include ‘ordinary elected people’.
All Lords to be elected must come from a variety of back-grounds. We ask sectors such as medicine, economics, the arts, politics, science, media, construction, manufacturing, sport, police, etc., to select 4 of their best candidates. These candidates will not only be regarded as highly regarded and distinguished within their field but with a good knowledge of having ‘lived life’ behind them, and therefore should be at least 60 years of age.
The people then elect 2 from each sector, one that favours the right of politics, one for the left. (Example of sectors could be agriculture, manufacturing, leisure, sport, media, science, retail, construction, property, education, science, pharmaceuticals, public services/council, engineering, energy, utilities, charity, finance, business, medicine, polic, the arts, politics etc.)
In politics, again 4 people are nominated from all political parties, enabling a good representation of everyone’s political leaning, and 2 of each parties nominations will be elected by the people. In 2019, there were approximately 17 political parties standing for election. There should also be 2 independents.
With regards to the Law Lords, again 12 are elected by the people from a list provided – each person required, as before, to have been a practicing barrister for a period of fifteen years or to have held a high judicial office. The Law Lords will also represent the highest court in the land and the Supreme Court will be disbanded. The Law Lords will exercise its judicial functions, acting as the highest court of appeal.
In total, we would could have 20/25 sectors of 2 elected Lords, 26 Bishops, 1 Speaker, 10 Law Lords, 92 hereditary peers, This would still include 26 Bishops nominated by the Church, 1 Speaker and 10 Law Lords.
The United Kingdom is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Of those countries together, there are about 100 counties (Northern Ireland: 6 counties, Scotland: 33 counties, Wales: 13 counties, England 48 counties). If we elect 1 person from each country that resides north, south, east and west; we would elect 4 people from each UK country.
How would it be split?
2 elected from say 25 sectors 50
Law Lords 12
Hereditary Peers 92
Ordinary Country Candidates 16
17 political parties, represented by 1 elected 17
1 Lord Speaker 1
That makes it 214 in total; why are there presently more than in the House of Commons?
There must be an independent body overseeing the House of Lords.
Re-election could take place every 5 or 10 years. Retirement from the House of Lords could be placed at 80/85 depending upon confirmation that the person is fit to hold such an office. The House of Lords must always put the Constitution first when deciding on matters of Bills, etc.
Let’s have a debate and reform this club! Sign the Petition
Or do we say, enough is enough. Let’s disband the House of Lords?
Either way, in a democracy, we should debate and then take a vote.