‘House of Lords: Fact vs Fiction’: New report


Prime Minister’s new plans to increase House of Lords will cost an extra PS1.3m per year, while size of House of Commons being reduced

PRIME MINISTER David Cameron is set to announce new plans to added an extra 50 peers to the House of Lords. A new report by the Electoral Reform Society has analysed the House of Lords, looking at five key areas:

– The cost of the Lords – In the 2010-2015 parliament, PS360,000 was claimed by peers in years they failed to vote once – ten Lords were responsible for PS236,000 of this. In the last parliamentary session alone, over PS100,000 was claimed by peers who did not vote at all. At the same time, Cameron’s plans for an additional 50 peers will cost at least PS1.3m per year.

– Independence – In the 2014-15 session nearly half (45 per cent) of all crossbenchers participated in ten or fewer votes – compared to an average of just 8 per cent of party political peers, while a quarter of appointments to the House of Lords between 1997 and 2015 were former MPs. Nearly all of party political peers over the past decade have voted en bloc with their party whip.

– Professional politicians – Over a third of Lords (34 per cent) previously worked in politics. The next highest is business and commerce (9 per cent) then legal professions (7 per cent) then banking and finance (6 per cent).

– A supersized House – to rebalance the upper chamber strictly in line with the 2015 General Election results would require the appointment of an additional 723 members. There are currently 132 more unelected lawmakers in the Houses of Parliament than elected ones.

– Out of date – 44 per cent of Lords list their main addresses in London and the South East, 54 per cent are 70 or older and just over a quarter of appointments between 1997 and 2015 were women.

The report concludes: “When the part of our parliamentary system designed to keep a check on executive power can be used as a partisan plaything, when it lacks the legitimacy of democratic election, when it can be so easily brought into disrepute, it is surely time to reform this out of date institution.”

To read the full report, click here .

Picture courtesy of Common Weal