Shameful! Lords to add new unelected hereditary peers – outrage at ‘warped priorities’

Brexit: House of Lords 'out to thwart' process says Redwood

When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.

The upper chamber of Parliament is completely unelected with voters having no say on who sits in the Lords. While most peers are appointed by political parties, more than one in 10 are hereditary peers who sit in the Chamber for no reason other than their family history.

By-elections for the positions are held whenever a hereditary peer dies, with the all-male hereditary peers entitled to vote who they want to represent them in the Chamber.

The ballots were postponed during the pandemic, but now four new hereditary peers are set to be added to the Lords by the end of July to fill the vaccines.

There are 92 hereditary peers in the Lords, making up more than 10 percent of the entire Chamber.

Hitting out at the return of the by-elections, Willie Sullivan, Senior Director at the Electoral Reform Society, said there was no defence for the “absurd system”.

He said: “Hereditary peers are a testament to the House of Lords being a private members’ club for an elite few.

“It is shocking that in 2021, more than one in ten of our Lords are there exclusively picked from a handful of male aristocrats.

“It’s a sign of very warped priorities from the second chamber that these should be restarting, when there are almost no defenders of this absurd system left.

“Sadly, legislation to phase out hereditary peers has been repeatedly filibustered – by hereditary peers – reflecting how much sway these figures still hold on the basis of birth.”

The Electoral Reform Society wants to see the House of Lords overhauled so it is a fully elected second Chamber.

There are currently about 800 members of the Lords, making it the second-largest legislative chamber in the world, behind the unelected Chinese National People’s Congress.

With only 650 MPs, it also means there are more people in the UK Parliament who are unelected than elected.

More than 60,000 people have joined the Electoral Reform Society in signing a petition demanding an elected second chamber.

Mr Sullivan argued scrapping the hereditary by-elections would be a good stepping stone to wider reform.

House of Lords insults British democracy here’s what should replace it [COMMENT]
Lord Owen’s outburst against House of Lords: ‘Complete joke!’ [WATCH]
Peer in Lords demands ‘repressive’ school uniforms be scrapped [UPDATE]

He said: “Removing these by-elections would be the first step in a package of reform desperately needed to ensure we have a scrutiny chamber that is fit for purpose, rather than this elitist mockery of democracy.

“These so-called by-elections must be the last.

“It’s time politicians – including the new Lord Speaker – took the steps needed to abolish this absurd practice and give the public a say over who sits in our second chamber.

“It is time for a fairly-elected second chamber to end the farce of unaccountable Lords – and create a new, proportionally-elected chamber that we can be truly proud of.

“This has to be the start of rebuilding the public’s faith in our democracy and its institutions.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed reform of the Lords to reduce the size of the Chamber.

However, despite his pledge to tackle the bloated number of peers, since taking office in July 2019 Mr Johnson has appointed 79 new peers.

In contrast, Theresa May appointed nearly half the amount, 43, in her entire three years as Prime Minister.

Source: Read Full Article