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Reformation of The House of Lords

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Reformation of The House of Lords B.Pringle The current composition of The House of Lords initial composition consists of 92 hereditary peers who are dominantly the most recent ones appointed. This is to provide some continuity with the existing system. Each newly appointed member of the House is a life member. There is a maximum number of members, 700. New members are added after every UK General Election, to bring the total membership up to the notional maximum. No new members are added to replace members who die or retire in between General Elections. The overall composition is roughly in proportion to the long-term popularity of the various parties. Particular elections only affect the proportion of new members added. This makes the House stable politically. Another aspect, which makes the composition of the House diverse and objective, is the presence of 'crossbench peers'. These peers are not affiliated with a particular party; this group makes up about a third of the House. ...read more.


Although the countryside may be a minority they are a powerful community and representation in the Lords made up for their sometimes-apparent lack of representation in the Commons. The continuation of hereditary peerage would remove the often-scandalous issue of the appointing of life peers. Life peers could be seen as political payoffs by the government of the day. This sort of appointment may give the government of the time a short-term benefit, but it's no way to appoint life-long members of our parliament system. There are also many arguments for the following through of the plan to completely abolish hereditary peerage. From a Labour sympathetic political stance it is easy to see why they want to abolish hereditary peers. Any time the Tories want their specific view made apparent and a majority in the Lords, they can wheel in (in some cases literally) large amounts of conservative peers who have little to no actual political interest in the matter. ...read more.


This sort of distrust from one tier of our political system to the other cannot be healthy for our political system and so obviously needed reform. The Wakeham commission made several recommendations on the second stage of the House of Lords reform (whether they will be put in place we are yet to see, but the outlook is doubtful after initial response to the 'white paper'). Around 20% of the membership would be made up of independent cross benchers, and existing life peers would stay on to ensure a smooth change over to the new arrangements. Most members of the reformed chamber would remain appointed by an independent commission. The political balance of the second chamber should reflect votes cast at the general election. A totally independent appointments system, in which the prime minister and government would play no part. A statutory minimum of 30% women members, fair representation for ethnic minority groups, and a broader range of religious representation than at present; Increased powers to scrutinise the executive and challenge government legislation. ...read more.

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