Wednesday, March 07, 2007

MPs to Vote on Lords Reform

Today MPs are voting on House of Lords reform. I explained HERE my views on the subject. In short I believe that a newly reformed House of Lords should be predominantly elected. I'd go for 100% but would settle for 80%. The LibDems are being whipped to vote for the 80% option and I believe most Conservatives are being encouraged to vote that way too. See The Guardian today. Of course, the real fun will start when their Lordships have to vote. They ain't gonna like it. When I interviewed Gillian Shephard last November she made clear that the Association of Conservative Peers intended to resist any proposal which contained an overwhelmingly elected element. As you'll see from this clip, she was in feisty mood...


Anonymous said...


You sound more and more like a NULab candidate every day. How can you possibly think that the Lords will be a "good thing" if neutered, whipped but with a 10% turnout electoral mandate??

Which government defeated most time by Lords?

Right, so how can it be a good idea to reduce their power? The only reason anyone would choose to do that would be to

a) Allow polical correct theoretical ideas to overide common sense and reason

b) a)+ it will mean those in government can do what they like

c) You have no regard for the will of the majority.

low turnout at GE means parliament is NOT doing a good job. It does not mean the public want more expensive elected pen pushers. to deny that truth is to put yourself clearly above those you seek to represent.


verity said...

On the button, Steve.

This is another "revolutionary" nulab idea sketched out on the back of an envelope. They must be the most heinous Constitutional vandals Britain has ever endured.

I hope Cameron announces that no matter what they do to the Lords, the Conservatives will think out a real, long-term plan and implement it. In other words, they'd ditch Labour's tweaking, interfering, headline-grabber ordure.

Iain Dale said...

Steve, Your initial comment is ridiculous. Labour do not seem to want a predominantly elected House, so how am I NuLab?

I do not accept an elected House of Lords will be neutered, or would have a 10% electoral mandate.

Your a,b,c comments are also totally illogical. I do not want to reduce their power.

Anonymous said...

Iain, you're such a Nu-Lab groupie. Look at your boss today. How ineffective was he?
It comes to a thing when youre average Joe Shmo is looking to Ming Campbell for robust opposition.
Sadly, they're looking more and more like the 'Real' opposition every day.

Madasafish said...

Anon said:"Which government defeated most time by Lords?"

Obvious answer:"the one which passes hasty and ill thought out legislation"

Step forward NuLab

(and I am no Conservative supporter!

mark williams said...

Of course the Lords will vote against it. Do you have any idea how much some of them have paid to get in?

James said...

She doesn't seem to merely have a problem with an elected Lords, but with democracy per se. Her line about having different policies in Scotland and England on health was lamentable - does she really think the UK is a 'small' country? Much smaller countries have far more devolution than us (and, coincidentally, better public services).

She also seems to be woefully ignorant about what actually happens in Parliament. This being November 2006, the Cunningham Report on powers and conventions on the Lords had just been published, yet she makes the bald claim that 'nobody' is interested in the function of the Lords. Perhaps she should pay more attention.

I was at a meeting in Canada House yesterday to hear a speech by one of the leading proponents of Senate Reform, Sen. Hugh Segal (a Conservative). There, democratic Senate reform is a major Conservative issue (as is, coincidentally, electoral reform). The anonymongs on your blog who seem to think that you must be a Blairite Thug for supporting democracy don't seem to be aware that the last thing Blair wants is more democracy.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Iain, but I'm with Steve and Verity on this.

Why? Because I believe it is vital for our democracy that the HOL remains independent of the corrupt party system.

Ok, I know we have Labour and Tory Peers etc, but the point is that, on the whole, they rarely seem to show alliegance to any party.

The HOL is a vital constitutional check on the, too often, depraved, power and gold lust of the self seeking and democracy theatening fat cats in the Commons.

God help us in the UK if the HOL becomes just another cog in the rotten party machines. Then there's nothing left but revolution.

Hey said...

Bring back the hereditary peers for a real House of Lords. One elected house is sufficient and an all appointed house is far too beholden to their patrons. A Hereditary house helps to slow down legilstive process, forces real thinking rather than simply a rubber stamp, and doesn't contest the legitimacy of the Commons.

A second elected house works in the US since it is elected on a very different basis (by state rather than by population). Counties don't have the same resonance nor commonality of interest, and a PR house would be a disastrous mess.

Anonymous said...

All parties want an elected chamber of 50% or more. That is essentially a reforming OUT of the picture. Nobody will vote for a politician with less poower and relevence than current MP's

surely that is obvious

So if they have less "electoral mandate", the power you dont want to reduce are not set out in this move, so you are voting to remove power unless you vote for status quo, MP's are nopt ging to increase its power are they??? Not after they have scuppered its influence anyway, the neutering of power comes first then the commons will decide what the powers of the upper house will be.

The public have no interest in more power for the executive, no interest in removing the best restraint we have, no interest in more pointless powerless politicians.

So that is why I think you are disregarding the will of the people. If nobody feels they have a voice in parliament, nobody is happy with the current behaviour of government how can taking constitutional decisions that give the commons more power be anything but against the will of the people.?

the irony of having these reforms
under the premiership of a crook, under the sleaziest govt i can remember and when we cannot get a debate or the truth on an illegal war surely cant be lost on everyone


Anonymous said...


Or will I face 90 internment for saying that!

I dont know the answer but I know that Straw and Blair cannot be trusted

forthurst said...

Nevertheless, Iain, where is the constitutional determination of the functions of the NuLords? What calibre of person would be elected?
If the Houses of Parliament are to be stuffed with party hacks, primarily technical college (sorry, uni) lecturers in law, and Oxbridge Arts grads, how is the tidal wave of highly pointless and damaging legislation, demonstrative of a complete inability to understand, diagnose and solve real, as opposed to imagined, problems to be stemmed.

hatfield girl said...

The less constitutional reform of any kind before the next general election the better. At least with all its faults and deficiencies the status quo and its working is well understood.

Apart from any unintended consequences of change, this is a rogue government whose continued validity needs to be checked by the electorate on Blair's departure before any of the rules of the game are altered further.

Anonymous said...


Why do you want another house dominated by party patronage, either through election or appointment? The current proposal would destroy the often significant role of cross-benchers and must lead to the Lords becoming a rather more elderly version of the Commons, with negative party politics and supine support for the Government replacing independence and a lack of fear to say No when necessary.

If we have to change, let's have a truly independent panel of wise men (and women)appointing eminent people from a wide range of backgrounds without regard for party affiliation.

verity said...

Anonymous 5:07 - No "wise men and women and eminent persons, thank you". Such people tend to have promoted themselves into public attention and they tend to be of the uppity lefty variety.

Return the hereditaries. They did no harm, seldom attended, turned up when a debate could benefit from their expertise in the subject and otherwise didn't trouble us with their thinking and opinions.

Also, the instinct of the hereditaries is to conserve. We need a period of conservation after the train wreck of Blair and his radical socialism departs the station.

Anonymous said...

The twisted thinking required to conclude a 15 year term paperclip and tippex jonny, elected by six people who fell into the scout hut pissed one tuesday afternoon, will ever be anything but a corduroy jacketed, lunch box owning, anorak wearing, timid vacuous party toady would give morph a mentalstretch

If it looks like a set-up, sounds like a duck its probably some sleazy politicians sloping off with some extra loot and influence

eddie said...

Blimey. You've managed to attract some right cranks here, Iain. Amazed that there are people prepared to defend the hereditary principle of populating the Lords.

What's interesting about this is that, yes, the LDs are being whipped, despite the fact that the media is portraying it as an entirely free vote. Is someone trying to keep the arm twisting quiet?

Voyager said...

Whatever.....the Parliament Acts should be repealed

EML said...

I'm a sad git and i'm watching the votes now.

So far we've had:

0% elected - 196 ayes, 275 noes
20% elected - unanimous noes
40% elected - unanimous noes

Anonymous said...

me too. i want to see which losers are selling us down the river........

Anonymous said...

the lords should be 100% herditory (that is after all the only way a communist got in). It is fairer it is better and it worked for 100's of years pre Labour.

How can there even be the opition of no 2nd chamber tonight. The democracy of this nation is built on the idea that the 3 parts all hold each other in balance. With neither able to force through laws or changes without support from another one. This is already weakened by the restraints on the crown. Next Tony Blair will just be cancelling elections so he doesnt have to resign ( and i joke not he could claim the country is instate of emergency after all we are at war on at least two fronts, and the government could be charged by the police over cash for peers)

EML said...

50% elected - 155 ayes, 418 noes

hatfield girl said...

Eddie @ 5.51 Organic constitutions do unexpected things when ill-thought out changes are made , particularly to the part of the legislature that has been prominent in obstructing some of the Labour government's more authoritarian and statist measures.

It would be democratic for parties to set out proposed constitutional changes and then go to a general election; that way the electorate can speak on reform not have reform with slanted advantage thrust on them.

I agree though, who would have thought that a partially hereditary second chamber would be so firm in saving many freedoms the Labour government attacks.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if anyone has put forward this suggestion yet: why can't we have a House of 'Lords' (or whatever it will be called) based upon the election of independant persons, who are not subject to a party whip and not funded by any parties?

eml said...

60% elected - 178 ayes, 392 noes.

I don't know if that's good news or not. Will they vote in favour of 80% elected?

Anonymous said...

I am afraid I thought I would never say this but wasnt that the old enabling act guff? Dont worry mate just include this bit in case of emergency. first opening they see and off we go..... the HOC is in danger of making itself irrelevent to teh point of dictatorship is almost enforced on every successive government.

Although tonight will provide another great history A-Level questions;

"The night of the long knives and night of the long noses were both socialist revolutions. discuss"

HM Stanley said...

I too despair about Iain’s conservative (small “c”) credentials.

1. He’s gung-ho for an English Parliament (think myriad of unfathomable unintended consequences).

2. He’s not for conscience-carve-outs on equality legislation when such bump into legitimate religious beliefs of some.

3. He’s for an elected House of Lords, once more, think of that most anathematic of conservative bugaboos…law of unintended consequences. (BTW, can somebody please explain to me when it is that democracy became the ultimate commitment of conservatives].

4. Bet Iain is for disestablishment of Cof E.

So, Mr. Dale, what exactly makes you a conservative, other than a love of Lady T and low taxes (which some call Radicalism, not conservatism)?

EML said...

80% elected - 305 ayes, 267 noes

Anoneumouse said...

what difference will it make, 80% of our laws come from Europe.

hg said...

An elected revising chamber would have a wholly different validity in its relations to the lower house.

Anonymous said...

A victory for Theresa May! Fully elected passes!

Anonymous said...

What a travesty........just another 10 years of argument over a pointless exercise whle rome merrily burns. why arnt so mant ofthose w*****s in the house debating iraq and shite legislation.

oh no they are now on telly in select comms tryng to show off.

eml said...

100% elected - 337 ayes, 224 noes.

100% elected has a 113 majority against 80% elected with a 38 majority.

Anonymous said...

if MEP eleections get 35-45% turnout. these guys will be lucky to get 20-30% tops every 15 years.... oh yeah accountable not. but hiding behind the 20% if it goes wrong......

hg said...

This cack-handed mauling of the constitution has resulted so far in the regionalisation of the UK with only four of the thirteen regions directly elected, and that by PR, which has its supporters and opposers but is not in line with current UK voting practice; and great unevenness in the devolution of powers. The pattern of a Europe of the Regions is threatening the unity of the UK.

And the growth of resentment against a Union that no longer reflects equally English concerns.

The proposed abolition of the Privy Council on the false assertion that it has purely ceremonial functions.

A threat to the bi-cameralism of UK government without proffered, let alone discussed, resolution of relations between the chambers.

Changing the role of the Law Lords.

Richard Patient said...


I am happy for you to vote whichever way you like on Lords reform, but if you make councils elected by PR (like in Scotland) then please don't bother to get me out of bed to campaign.

Anonymous said...

The problem revolves really around the new definition of 'truth'. If the speaker allows comments like ‘overwhelming public demand for elected HOL’ to pass as fact what can you expect? The fact that no questions are ever answered by the government has not gone unnoticed by the public. If the HOC has given up on the truth then what do you expect of the public?

Tory Party has an undeserved poor record on sleaze (public/media opinion), supports the war, supports HOL reform, supports interventionist policy like married allowances, supports open borders does NOTHING in the eyes of the public to expose the corruption and incompetence of this government, has a leader who is very Blair-like, has repositioned the party by moving to ground where many party members can no longer vote Tory on principle (just like NuLab) and is obsessed with green eco-babble. Most of all they do not look like a Tory Party, they look like a Party trying to get into power, not a government in waiting. The public are now painfully aware of electing liars.

I have no doubt at all that the Tory Party will form a government after the next GE, let’s remember that a yucca plant couldn’t help but get elected against this NuLab rubbish. To do what is the question?

Until one party admits, what is obvious to everyone else, that the direction of policy in the last 10 -15 years has failed in a major way there is no point in voting. If anyone thinks the public are interested in more political correctness, more welfare, more government bureaucrats, less discipline, high taxes, corrupt government, restrictions on free speech, reduced civil liberties, unrestricted migration and morally bankrupt foreign/arms trade policy they are very wrong. No parent wants 'equality' in educational choice they want the best education for their kids. This means more grammar schools, more streaming, better state schools, more private schools because this will deliver a better education for the kids. Sticking to a policy that has dragged education standards lower doesnt work, what more proof do you need?

Honesty didn’t just disappear overnight, it is the result of the liberal, PC, ‘rights’ based, socialist agenda that is reviled by ordinary people. The MP’s do not want to hear this as it is inconsistent with their favoured modern agenda. Politicians must accept that they have been wrong, have followed the wrong path, or turnouts will continue to fall. The evidence for this is far stronger than that for climate change.

The reason that MP’s have chosen a 100% elected HOL shows this perfectly. Ignore the real problem because it doesn’t suit, hide behind the utterly ridiculous “truth’ that votes = democracy.

Will said...

The LibDems were whipped to vote for both the 80% and the 100% - not just the 80%.