1. Post #1
    Gold Member
    smurfy's Avatar
    October 2007
    22,039 Posts
    I wrote this to fill in anyone who needs it

    The UK coalition government plans to reform the House of Lords and make it directly elected for the first time in history. The idea is backed in principle by all three major parties, and has been on the cards for 100 years. It was an issue in the last 4 general elections, but was pretty much swept under the table after the election was over. This time since the Lib Dems are in government they're really going for it, it's been put into a draft bill and the first election is meant to be in 2015 if it passes.

    How the House of Lords currently works
    Lords are appointed by either the Prime Minister, or the House of Lords Appointments Commission. Lords may be appointed at any time, so there is no fixed number of them; there are currently nearly 800 Lords. Most Lords are life peers - they will remain in the House of Lords until they retire or die.

    The Lords carry only a suspensory veto - if they reject a Bill, it's delayed by a year, after which the House of Commons can use the Parliament Act to overrule the Lords and enact the bill anyway.

    The coalition's proposal
    The government plans to cut the House of Lords to 300 members, 80% of whom will be directly elected, and the remainder appointed in the same way as before. The Lords will serve single 15-year terms, with a third of them up for election every five years. They will be elected using the single transferable vote, a form of proportional representation. Their powers won't be changed at all - they can still be overruled in the same way.

    Labour supports the reforms in principal, but there have been calls for a referendum on the issue, which the government rejects.

    Other proposals
    Obviously many would prefer a 100% elected House of Lords. Another idea is to remove the upper house entirely and use a unicameral system, since the Lords hold no practical power anyway.
    Personally I support the government's plan. A fully elected HoL would be nice but I think 80% elected is good enough since they can be overruled anyway, and to me it's more important that we finally get this shit done in some capacity. I like that they're going to be elected by PR, as it should hopefully offer some balance to the problems of FPTP. I was worried that this might make the Lords more legitimate and thus undermine the supremacy of the Commons but with only a third elected every 5 years it should be okay.

  2. Post #2
    Antdawg's Avatar
    July 2010
    5,267 Posts
    I know this doesn't directly relate to the reform at hand or even the House of Lords itself, but I've always liked the idea of a level in government which isn't directly voted by the public, rather it is made up of individuals such as recognised intellectuals and major stakeholders in regard to government operations and appointed through some entity (such as the Monarch or by fellow members in that council or whatever it would be).

    Anyways with the situation at hand, I reckon it should be put up for referendum (but as you state the government doesn't want to do that). Ultimately, it should be the people who should make this kind of a decision, not people within the government.

  3. Post #3
    Gold Member
    carcarcargo's Avatar
    October 2007
    15,264 Posts
    There is no point in making it elected, it should either be kept the way it is or gotten rid of entirely. What would be the point in having two elected houses, it would just mean that you'd have two elected houses both with the same party dominating each.

  4. Post #4
    Gold Member
    smurfy's Avatar
    October 2007
    22,039 Posts
    There is no point in making it elected, it should either be kept the way it is or gotten rid of entirely. What would be the point in having two elected houses, it would just mean that you'd have two elected houses both with the same party dominating each.
    Not with the Lords elected by PR on 15 year terms

  5. Post #5
    Gold Member
    Catdaemon's Avatar
    February 2005
    2,821 Posts
    Why the hell do they want these elected via STV when they were so opposed to PR for general elections? this coalition man...

    I like how the house of lords works at the moment where you can't get rid of peers so it's very difficult to manipulate, but of course it would be better to be represented properly.

  6. Post #6
    Gold Member
    carcarcargo's Avatar
    October 2007
    15,264 Posts
    Not with the Lords elected by PR on 15 year terms
    I prefer things the way they are. At the moment we're pretty much unicameral but the lords just check over commons legislation and help write up a better legislation. If anything I'd say we should give lords more power so commons cant just force legislation through like with the NHS bill (which lords was opposed to)

  7. Post #7
    Gold Member
    smurfy's Avatar
    October 2007
    22,039 Posts
    I prefer things the way they are. At the moment we're pretty much unicameral but the lords just check over commons legislation and help write up a better legislation. If anything I'd say we should give lords more power so commons cant just force legislation through like with the NHS bill (which lords was opposed to)
    Give an unelected body more power so they can block an elected one? I don't get it, and it took a shitload of wrangling to get rid of the Lords' veto in the first place

  8. Post #8
    Gold Member
    carcarcargo's Avatar
    October 2007
    15,264 Posts
    Give an unelected body more power so they can block an elected one? I don't get it, and it took a shitload of wrangling to get rid of the Lords' veto in the first place
    Not completely block it, just let them have a bit more influence so commons cant push dumb crap through all the time.

    The lack of elections also allow non party related people to get a seat in lords, along with also allowing lords to be made up of experts in their field rather than more politicians.

  9. Post #9
    Gold Member
    smurfy's Avatar
    October 2007
    22,039 Posts
    Not completely block it, just let them have a bit more influence so commons cant push dumb crap through all the time.
    Might be a good idea I guess

  10. Post #10
    The lack of elections also allow non party related people to get a seat in lords, along with also allowing lords to be made up of experts in their field rather than more politicians.
    You mean we might get scientists as Peers?

  11. Post #11