THE BLOG
29/02/2016 12:29 GMT | Updated 01/03/2017 05:12 GMT

UK Government Should Ditch Plans to Reduce the Number of Scottish MPs

The message couldn't be any clearer: Rather than depleting the number of Scottish MPs any further, David Cameron should instead actually listen to the voters of Scotland for once. We need to abolish the ridiculous House of Lords and give these unelected, unaccountable and costly peers their P45s.

Under current UK government plans Scotland is set to lose six of its 59 MPs at the next election - ten per cent - in a move that David Cameron claims is about cutting costs.

As an SNP member, it goes without saying that I'd rather Scotland was an independent country and didn't need any representatives at Westminster at all, but as long as we remain part of the UK it is vital that Scotland has strong representation in the UK Parliament. The clear message from Scottish voters at the last election was that Scotland's voice must be strengthened rather watered down.

If the Prime Minister was really concerned with cutting the cost of politics he would abolish the unelected, undemocratic, gilt-clad House of Lords. Instead, what David Cameron has actually done is consistently increase the size and cost of the already-bloated second chamber - packing it with 244 more peers since the 2010 election.

In total, the House of Lords now has 816 peers making it the second largest legislature in the world - second only to the National People's Congress of China, a country with 1.4 billion citizens. Worse still, it was reported at the end of last week that David Cameron is planning to pack yet more Tory donors and cronies into the Lords by appointing another 40 peers.

Within a decade, if this rate of growth continues, the unelected House of Lords will have double the numbers than the elected House of Commons.

For each Lord appointed in the ridiculous and archaic appointments system, the taxpayer must foot a bill of £300 per day. £300 tax free for every sitting day they show up. For life. The cost of these allowances alone extends well into the millions every year. That doesn't even take into account the staffing, equipment and ermine-robe-cleaning associated with the absurd second chamber.

While Scotland's MPs are elected by - and accountable to - the people of Scotland, these Lords and Ladies are appointed by the Prime Minister and are accountable to no one. They include many of the former MPs that Scottish voters decided to throw out. They even include failed candidates that no one ever elected in the first place. We have hundreds of unelected Tory, Labour and Lib Dem peers that interfere in Scottish affairs despite having no mandate - and to add insult to injury the Scottish taxpayer is required to pay for them.

It's no wonder then that opinion polls have consistently shown a majority of Scots want to see the House of Lords scrapped. A YouGov poll in September 2015 found that over two thirds, 67 per cent, of people in Scotland want it to be abolished.

The SNP has long fought for the unelected House of Lords to be abolished and we stood on a clear platform in 2015 with a pledge in our election manifesto. While the SNP won 56 of 59 seats at the election the Tories, who opposed abolition, were roundly rejected. They got their lowest share of the vote since 1865 and they have failed to win more than one seat in Scotland at any Westminster election since 1997.

The Tories have no political mandate from Scotland, and certainly no mandate to diminish Scotland's voice at Westminster.

The message couldn't be any clearer: Rather than depleting the number of Scottish MPs any further, David Cameron should instead actually listen to the voters of Scotland for once. We need to abolish the ridiculous House of Lords and give these unelected, unaccountable and costly peers their P45s.