Magazine article The Spectator

Senator Duke?

Magazine article The Spectator

Senator Duke?

Article excerpt

How disappointing it is that our legislators spend so much of their time arguing about reform of the House of Lords when the whole of Parliament is crying out for reform. The House of Commons just carries on as though nothing has happened in the way of a European Parliament with 78 MEPs, or a Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly with 128 and 60 members respectively -- 266 altogether.

It is even worse than that. There are now even more MPs than when I left the House of Commons in 1973. With declining interest at elections, one suspects there are declining mailbags from constituents. In the 1970s one had to pay for one's secretary, often sharing with two or three other MPs; one shared an office with two or three others. Today's MPs have palatial offices with two or three paid secretaries/ researchers each. What do they all do?

Fiddling about with House of Lords reform is not the answer. It is high time there was a thorough review by a constitution commission of the ten wisest people in the land so as to come up with a comprehensive business-like assembly, yet respecting much of the traditional procedures and ornamentation.

I think the number of MPs could be reduced from 650 to 500 or less with Mondays and occasional Fridays reserved for purely English business conducted by English MPs. …

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