Monday, February 19, 2007

Straw Backs Down on Lords Reform Vote

Well done to Jack Straw for backing down on the preferential voting system on House of Lords reform. More HERE. His proposal would have set a dangerous constitutional precedent. As Theresa May says: "A preferential ballot would have taken us into murky constitutional waters. It is a fundamental right of Parliament to reject Government proposals should it wish to do so, and the preferential system of voting would have removed that right."


Anonymous said...

Why is 100% elected not an option? (Well we know why, don't we.)

David Anthony said...

As far as I can tell, 100% elected IS an option.

Ten years of debate and promises and the best Labour can do is to create a vote that is sure to fail. A very convenient way of governing.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if allegations drifting in the ether may have dampened his authority for pushing through this proposal ?

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

Trumpeter: 100% elected IS an option.

Iain: define 'dangerous'. How is introducing a system that makes it easier to uncover the will of parliament 'dangerous'?

Anonymous said...

well, it's clear the removing the prefential system will cause the end result to be the same as it was before - stalemate.
you put 7 options before ppl and it'll be difficult for any to get a majority in support without some serious behind-the-scenes action and whipping.
farce. and how is it "dangerous" Iain for the real desires of MPs to be taken into account?

unothordox behaviour said...

Labour is in a tangle here for the simple reason that it doesn't want a fully 'legitimate' upper house. If it was 100 percent elected, it could stop government bills and have the moral and legal right to do so.

At the moment it can ignore the will of the Lords, because it isn't 'legitimate'.

So what you have is an appointed house, which in my view is far worse than the hereditary system.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, for the record, this should be a free vote without any whipping at all. But whatever system comes out of it must command the majority support of MPs. Straw's previous suggestion would not have allowed that to happen. That's why he is right to do what he has done today.

Anonymous said...

It's not an option for me, Trumpeter Lanfried. I do not want another layer of politicians cluttering up British public life.

Anonymous 5:44 - You took the words right off my computer ... I also wondered what was suddeny making Straw amenable and open to reason.

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

"Whatever system comes out of it must command the majority support of MPs. Straw's previous suggestion would not have allowed that to happen."

That is simply not true Iain. Under Jack Straw's original proposals, NO option would have gone forward unless at least 50% of MPs had supported it. Plus, a majority would have to support it along every step of getting the legislation through the House.

I say again: how would allowing preferential voting have set a 'dangerous' precedent?

Anonymous said...

Sorry chaps. Apologies to Jack Straw. I misread the press release. 100% is an option.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
S B said...

Thank goodness that the alternative voting has been dropped. That was a disastrous precedent to potentially set. Let's hope that the proposals to elect parts of the Lords is rejected. It should remain fully appointed.

Steven Bainbridge
A View from the Right

Anonymous said...

steven bainbridge - it should be fully hereditary. It worked, which is why Blair was obsessed with "fixing" it. The hereditaries have a lot of experience between them, they have outside interests which occupy them, rather than being compulsive legislators. Their instinct is to conserve. They are much given to minding their own business and not interfering in other people's lives.

I also think we should drop this "life peer" garbage. Give them a knighthood; that's enough. Let the current lifers keep their titles, but don't issue any new ones. It's ridiculous. No appointees.

Anonymous said...

The Lords have no say in devolved matters in Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland, so why does England need them?
Frank Field's Early Day Motion 670
"That this House notes that those polls that have questioned the
English report a clear majority in favour of an English parliament;
and further notes that it is this issue, and not Scottish
independence or even House of Lords reform, that is the issue that
voters now put at the top of their priorities for constitutional
What is the matter with you people?
Answer the bloody West Lothian Question first then look at the Lords. It's always the cart before the horse with these bloody poiticians.

Tristan said...

Surely you could use a preferential system to find what is the most popular amongst MPs, but require a straight 'aye/nay' vote to verify that. Then you'd be the best of both, with a majority approving if they do.

The Leadership Blogger said...

Quite obviously the only sensible solution is to repeal the House of Lords reform act 1999. I always said they had reformed the wrong house - it's the Commons that's more likely to be corrupt and incompetent.

Anonymous said...

verity - you make a good point, but the House of Lords has never been full of 'hereditary' peers, as far as I'm aware - there were always some 'Lords Spiritual', from the church.

And the Law Lords, though I'm afraid I don't know what the criteria for selecting these were - they may well have been political appointees, in the manner of life peers, even if they had to be of a certain rank in the legal profession.

Anonymous said...

So theresa may is dumb. No news there then. If a final vote in a preferential system gives a preference for one proposal over another then that is the will of the House. It is sequential all-or-nothing options voting that is a corrupt laughing-stock, playing to the "my most-favoured option or nothing" brigades. THAT is the hideeous constitutional monstrosity.