Business leaders and the Lords

On Monday The Times held a forum of business leaders at County Hall and invited their views on policies that the coalition government should be pursuing.   The results of the forum were reported on Thursday.

The participants’ main priorities related to the deficit and business growth.  Political reform came low on their list: only 2.1 per cent listed it as a policy priority.  When asked about political reform, they favoured some change but on the issue of the House of Lords they were against election.  According to Rachel Sylvester:

“On the House of Lords, there was universal agreement that it would be a mistake to create an elected second chamber.  That would be a ‘political gesture’.  A wholly appointed Upper House – made up of the great and the good – would be far better, the businessmen believed ‘They should be like the elders, who can speak out and are not party political’, one said.  The aim should be to get talented outsiders into politics rather than to create a Westminster clique.”

Let’s hope the government takes note.


About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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8 Responses to Business leaders and the Lords

  1. ladytizzy says:

    If a full elected second House became a reality during this parliament, would you stand? If so would it be as as Prof, Lord, or Mr Norton?

    What proportion of the Lords would do the same?

    • Lord Norton says:

      ladytizzy: I regard my chances of being elected (to anything) as usually very slim. I can organise campaigns but I’m not sure I’m exactly candidate material. I possibly would have been in Burkean times! Most peers would be unlikely to stand for election, either because they’ve already been there and done that, or don’t have the time or physical ability.

  2. Troika21 says:

    For once the business leaders have it right, although the cynic in me claims its because they think they’d be the ones asked to join.

    Or that they expect to bribe their way in.

    Still, best option whatever their reasons for supporting it.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Troika21: I agree: their reasoning is sound, even if one may harbour a suspicion as to the motivation.

      • Carl.H says:

        My Lord, one could harbour suspicions about any person wishing to accept such a position of responsibility for no salary. Even the Lords Spiritual are salaried, their participation in the House would I presume be seen as part of their good work ?

  3. Carl.H says:

    It`s nice to know that business leaders agree with me, there`s obviously some astute minds out there.

    IF there were elections to the House those that were good campaigners, had the time and the public ear would be filling the seats.

    Joanna Lumley springs to mind immediately which would be no bad thing for the mistreated Ghurka`s but I`m not so sure it would right for the Country.

  4. Carl.H says:

    Totally off topic but MUST be mentioned !

  5. Huzzah for the business leaders!

    As I’ve argued elsewhere, a greater case can be made for an appointed Upper Chamber over an elected Chamber if one’s objective is a limited form of government that does not see governing as an end-in-itself—with attendant legislation for legislation’s sake—and, more important, with no overall improvement to the legislative process.

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