Lyn Brown

Member of Parliament for West Ham

Lords Reform - August 2012

We all know from experience that big changes turn out better after proper consideration of all the options.

That’s what is needed, if we are going through with reform of the House of Lords.

The Second House provides important, detailed scrutiny of Government legislation.  The proposed changes are profound.  We can’t just hope for the best.

We need to be clear what powers a reformed House of Lords will have.  What proportion should be elected, how long will members serve and what system is used to elect them?

We also need to decide if there is a role for bishops and, crucially, to legislate for the relationship between the Commons and the second chamber.  Once the Lords become elected, the relationship with the Commons will change, because the Lords will have their own electoral mandate.

What Cameron currently offers is a second-rate set of proposals that demonstrates the toxic consequences of coalition politics.

The Lib Dems are desperate to salvage something from their craven collusion with the Tories, their hike in student fees and their support of the disastrous and expensive NHS re-organisation, that means more cuts and privatisation. 

Clegg has chosen House of Lords reform to be the price for his continued  subservience.

I do support reform of the House of Lords, but not just any reform, at any old price.  I don’t feel comfortable with this incompetent, out-of-touch, squabbling coalition at the helm steering us through such a massive change.

Lords’ reform is not something that comes up much on the door step.  Families in Newham have far more pressing issues in their lives:  dealing with rising costs of living, stagnant wages, unemployment, poor housing, and savage cuts to public services.

But I think we would all fundamentally agree on one thing; nobody has a right to govern unelected.

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