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Reform the Lords; You Say

WITH regard to Get rid of the Lords by A. Kendall Snr, (ECHO letters December 24).

Firstly he is correct in raising the scandalous issue of Peers in the House of Lords (HOL), signing in for attendance, and in one case staying for 20 minutes, and then leaving, and collecting PS300 per day.

This practice is within the rules of the HOL and this is done regularly by a number Peers. He is also correct in that prime ministers can appoint Peers to the HOL, that are friends or associates, surely open to cronyism.

Where I disagree with him is when he calls for the abolition of the HOL. As the local co-ordinator of our group of Unlock Democracy, which is a national organisation which campaigns for constitutional and voting reform, we call for reform. The HOL now has 876 peers, there is no upper limit.

The present Coalition Government proposed a smaller chamber of 300 members with an 80% or 100% elected chamber, these proposals had the support of the Labour opposition, and Unlock Democracy, but they were withdrawn because of the opposition of 91 back bench Conservative MPs.

In conclusion, the HOL is needed to scrutinise bills from the House of Commons. Every democratic government in the world has two chambers, the second chamber carrying out the scrutinising role of the first chamber. The difference with the UK, is that we are the only democratic country with an unelected second chamber.

John Volleamere, co-ordinator Merseyside & West Cheshire Unlock Democracy
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 10, 2014
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