Clegg before the committee

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, appeared before the Constitution Committee yesterday morning as part of our inquiry into the process of constitutional change.  Given the timing, we also explored the issue of Lords reform.  I was keen to put the debate in the context of joined-up thinking (or lack of it) on the constitution and the various inconsistencies within the Government’s proposals for the election of the second chamber.  I pursued the issue of the Parliament Act and also the method of election the Deputy PM favours for the second chamber (the single-transferable vote), which has the potential to encourage candidates to make excessive promises (since members of the same party can compete against one another); STV in Ireland has facilitated localism on the part of candidates, which is not what is intended across here.  The Deputy PM was fairly articulate in not really answering the questions. 

You can see details and indeed watch the session here.

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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3 Responses to Clegg before the committee

  1. Frank W. Summers III says:

    Lord Norton,

    This was just the thing for me as I was undertaking the sad and tedious task of demolishing the cyber structure of a group recently disbanded. I must say I though good points were made by all. I think the cultural aspect of your system is made obvious here. Minister Clegg is compelled to answer by a vast array of factors and that is what makes your committees different. Our Congressional committees for example have far more powers in my view but a member of the executivecan rarely be grilled and certainly none so near the top — because of differences in political culture. You were in my view the most polite of the Peers except the chair. But you surely got your point across.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Frank W. Summers III: Thanks for the estimation of the work of committees – it is always valuable to get a comparative perspective – as well as for your comments on my contribution. I was pleased I got the opportunity I did.

  2. Jeff says:

    Lord Norton,

    One does fear for the potential drop in quality of scrutiny that Peers such as yourself offer should there be an 80-20 split in the Lords.

    Given the prevailing apathy and general lack of rational voting in General Elections for MPs, how is it possible that the electorate will a) know who they are voting for or b) care who they’re voting for if (when?) these new elections are held? Is it even possible to consider Peers as electable? If the value of the upper chamber is not recognised then I fail to see how single-term elections for Peers (perhaps Senators?) will improve scrutiny or most importantly accountability.

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