Following his recent highly critical “playing with fire” remarks about the House of Lords’ attitude towards Brexit and the petition calling for a referendum on abolition of the Upper Chamber reaching 116,000 signatures, TFA Council Member and Independent Labour Peer Lord Stoddart of Swindon has provided his thoughts on the future of the Lords.
Lord Stoddart said: "Since 1999 the House of Lords has changed beyond all recognition and has become completely unrepresentative and unfit to act as a legitimate second chamber. The Liberal Democrat Party, which has only 12 seats in the House of Commons, has 102 seats in the House of Lords - over 60 seats more than they are entitled to in proportion to their vote at the last General Election. Furthermore, the 177 cross benchers who, are intended to be independent and impartial, do not always seem to live up to their role.
“It seems clear that the House of Lords has lost a lot of support in the country and the fact that over 116,000 people have taken the trouble to demand a House of Commons debate on the future of the Lords indicates that change must come.
“As I see it, there are a number of possibilities for the future:-
- Agreement by the House of Lords, itself, to reduce the period of delay in the case of disagreement between the Houses to not more than two months.
- Abolition of the House of Lords and replaced by an appointed body with the power to advise but not to legislate.
- Abolition of the House of Lords and a unicameral system introduced instead. This would enable the House of Commons to share their power in matters of great moment with the people through referenda but such a radical reform would, necessarily, only take place following a constitutional convention and the consent of the people by means of a referendum."
The petition for a referendum on the abolition of the House of Lords: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/209433
Lord Stoddart’s statement on the House of Lords passing amendments to the EU withdrawal Bill in defiance of the referendum result: http://www.tfa.net/mischievous_house_of_lords_is_playing_with_fire_lord_stoddart
Media contact: Stuart Gulleford
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