What are the chances of Lords’ reform?

What are the chances of Lords’ reform?

Could something go through before 2015?

I’m suggesting to Ladbrokes and other bookies that a market is set up on whether legislation will be passed before the next general election requiring at least part of the membership of the house of Lords to be elected.

The detailed proposals for such a reform were published three weeks ago and include a 300-member hybrid house, of which 80% are elected. Under the plan members would also serve for single non-renewable terms of 15 years. Former MP’s would be allowed to stand for election to the Upper House, but members of the Upper House would not be immediately allowed to become MPs.

This has met with a fair bit of resistance in Tory quarters and the Lords themselves are, as you might expect, not keen. That is putting it mildly – many of them are furious and clearly for them to give it their support would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.

Clearly any reform would be blocked by the house of Lords and the only way of getting it through would be via the parliament act. That would require the resolve and commitment of both coalition partners which I don’t think is there.

An agreement to look at the Lords with part of the upper being elected by PR was part of the coalition deal. This states:-

” We will establish a committee to bring forward proposals for a wholly or mainly elected upper chamber on the basis of proportional representation. The committee will come forward with a draft motion by December 2010. It is likely that this will advocate single long terms of oice. It is also likely that there will be a grandfathering system for current Peers. In the interim, lords appointments will be made with the objective of creating a second chamber that is relective of the share of the vote secured by the political parties in the last general election.”

Pedants might argue that this was not a commitment to do anything other than just look.

I can see another blue-yellow clash on the cards.

Mike Smithson

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