It's a sad but true fact that, in general, it's not good news that brings the need for Lords reform to the fore in British politics. But on Monday, a ...
There is a groundswell of opinion in the Lords that urgent action needs to be taken to protect the reputation of the House and the valuable work that it does. Experience shows that reform of the Lords is most successful when incremental. Reducing the size of the House is a reform needed most urgently. We should take action now.
The publication of Boundary Commission Proposals for the next election has sparked a lively debate. Inevitably, there is a very close interest in this matter from MPs themselves, some of whom find that the new proposals cut up their beloved constituency into several pieces.
Just a day after the government announced their 'rapid review' into the powers of the upper chamber, the full extent of opposition to our unreformed House of Lords has been revealed.
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.
Both Houses of Parliament exist to serve the people of the UK, yet it fell to the unelected peers, rather than the MPs who are directly accountable to their constituents, to stand up for people whose work helps the entire country to operate and succeed.
'Constitutional chaos' - that's the PM's verdict if Lords go ahead and vote against the government's changes to tax credits today. There are hints from the PM that he is threatening to stuff the House of Lords with 100 extra Conservative Peers if the upper chamber goes against Ministers' wishes and opposes the cuts.
While the threatened fatal motion is highly unusual, it is yet another example of the current unstable and volatile position in the House of Lords. The Prime Minister has previously ruled out any further attempts at reforming the Lords, but threats to use the Lords to kill off tax credit cuts might be just a taster of the troubles ahead for the Government and Parliament under a small majority.
Should the Lords become an elected chamber? Partly-elected perhaps but fully elected and we could end up with the same political game-playing and circus entertainment we often get with the House of Commons? Is that democracy? The public seem very discontent with politicians so why are we calling for more by having the Lords electable?
That Peers who failed to speak in the chamber during the whole of the last Parliamentary session claimed three quarters of a million pounds in expenses and allowances is surely a damning indictment on Britain's 'upper' chamber.
Certainly, the upper house needs reform in a number of areas, not least to ensure that numbers do not balloon to ridiculous proportions.The answer though certainly does not lie in stripping away all that is good about the House of Lords and replacing it with a room full of elected, whippable Lords, who will do what their party tells them.
Our democracy, like every political system across the world, needs reform and will always need reform but before we throw the bathwater out, let's make doubly sure we've removed the baby first.
Calls for reform of the House of Lords have been heard even more loudly that normal in the last ten days and the reason is fairly obvious. The current set-up comes nowhere close to being right for the 21st Century.
These latest figures only serve to reinforce the need for a radical rethink about our second chamber, which is getting bigger and more expensive by the day. Surely it can't be right that when politicians are talking about reducing the cost of politics, they're set to stuff the upper chamber with yet more party appointees?
The previous difficulty of only being able to suspend a Member until the end of a Parliament has been overcome. Suspension is now available as a sanction for any length of time that the House considers appropriate. Furthermore, for the first time the House now has the power to expel permanently.
People in favour of reform can't agree and thus anti-reformists have the upper hand. Despite this, I still believe that we need to have open debates about the future of our electoral system and that we need to look in to ways of altering it to make it more representative. While simple country-wide PR is not the answer, neither is rejecting reform altogether.