Thursday, 6 January 2011

Future of the House of Lords

One of the great things about having a new born baby is discovering all the late night TV you didn't know existed. One program which was on the parliament channel last night was the intelligence squared event debating the motion 'An elected House of Lords will be bad for British democracy'.
This is with Vernon Bogdanor, Shami Chakrabarti and Simon Jenkins speaking for the motion, and Lord Adonis, Polly Toynbee and Billy Bragg speaking against it. Broadcast on 23rd November.
The coalition agreement clearly outlines a provision for a wholly or mainly elected second chamber using proportional representation. As an interim measure, there has been and will continue to be an appointment of new peers to reflect the shares of the vote in the last election.
But there is much more to arranging a working and worth while second chamber than whether its elected or not. There are questions over power, appointments or candidate selection. If elected when do we vote for the members (for example a 3rd every 5 years) giving members of the lords more time in office gives them more independence. In effect its an argument for or against democracy.
Please do watch the debate here on the BBC's democracy live website and let me know your conclusions. Personally I now favour a partly elected second chamber with a 3rd elected every 5 years. A List of reform options can be found here.

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