Responding to comments from the Prime Minister saying there will be a ‘rapid review’ of the House of Lords following yesterday’s votes on tax credits, Darren Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: “The PM said over the summer that he ‘regrets’ not reforming the House of Lords in the last Parliament. After yesterday’s vote he must be regretting that mistake more than ever. Thankfully, it’s not too late.”
“The government are now promising a ‘rapid review’ of the House of Lords following their defeat in the upper chamber. This should have been done long ago. But a review can’t simply mean tinkering around the edges or packing the second chamber with yet more donors and ex-politicians, at a cost of over £2.6m per year in expenses and allowances. The government has appointed Peers at the fastest rate in history into what is an already-bloated chamber.
“We need root and branch reform of the unelected upper chamber – not based on partisan interest, but because it’s wrong in a modern democracy for our legislators to be unelected.
“We have a crisis of democracy in this country – a government handed a majority on just 37% of the vote, and on the other side a house with too many political hacks and cronies. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and two democratically-dubious chambers look pretty ridiculous shouting about each others’ alleged illegitimacy.
“Now’s the time for looking at both Houses to deal with the democratic deficit in Britain – an unfair and out-of-date voting system in the Commons, and an expensive and archaic set-up in the Lords.
“The public won’t settle for half-way house Lords reform. If the government is serious about dealing with the ‘constitutional crisis’ our democracy is in, they should ensure the public get a say at last in who represents us in the upper chamber.