Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Keep Hereditary Peers

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Keep Hereditary Peers

Article excerpt

NO ONE trusts politicians to appoint peers any more. It's been calculated that individuals who had given [pounds sterling]50,000 or more to the Labour Party were 7,000 times more likely to be "ennobled" than people who hadn't.

The Commons wants a fully elected Lords, though in truth the bureaucraticcentralist leadership of both parties fears an elected Lords would challenge their elective dictatorship.

Nothing will be done until the next election. A newly mandated Labour Prime Minister would want an elected, but non-threatening chamber of nonpartisan peers of all ages and backgrounds who have done public good.

The solution: restrict candidacy to those who have been honoured for nonparty services, and let the people elect them. Let the eldest of their children who is willing to inherit their seats do so; failing this, by-elections should be held.

In this way, the House of Lords would comprise new peers elected by the people and their heirs, selected by the "accident" of birth.

As I have recently learned, nothing is more sobering to a peer, or more conducive to sensible lawmaking, than the knowledge that he holds his seat only because he has lost his beloved father.

Hereditary peerage still has its place.

Viscount Monckton of Brenchley.

I HAVE previously voted in favour of both a fully appointed and a fully elected Lords, and against all hybrid options.

With a hybrid House, you are bound to find yourself in a situation where the appointed element votes in a different way from the elected one, and that presents a trap.

If the appointed peers in a 80 per cent elected/20 per cent appointed House were to swing the vote on an issue of national importance, MPs could point to the anomaly and the Lords' integrity would be undermined.

Nearly all Commons debates about the Lords' future have been about its composition. The thorough way in which we conduct business and peers' independence of mind is approved, with the hope that the Lords continue to operate in the same way after reform. But would this be possible with an elected element?

If MPs really want a wholly elected House, I would be very willing to support them - as a Labour peer, I have voted for my abolition more times than I can remember. …

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