Not the democratic option

Time flies.  It hardly seems like a year has passed since I was in Glasgow to deliver the Stevenson Lecture.  I spoke then on House of Lords reform and made the point that election of the second chamber is not self-evidently ‘the democratic option’.    A colleague of mine, Dr Colin Tyler, who specialises in democratic theory, has also made the same point in a succint submission to the Joint Committee on the Draft House of Lords Reform Bill.  You can read his submission – it is number 27 – in the written submissions.   On the same point, it is also worth reading the evidence of Sir John Baker, Professor of Law at the University of Cambridge, at number 23.

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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9 Responses to Not the democratic option

  1. tory boy says:

    Why has there not been the usual two week gap between Report Stage and Third Reading of the Welfare Reform Bill?

    • Lord Norton says:

      tory boy: The 14-day gap applies to the period between Second Reading and Committee and between Committee and Report Stage. The gap between Report stage and Third Reading is three sitting days.

      • Tory Boy says:

        What are the rules for the Commons? I know they can take 3rd reading straight after report but what about the other stages?

      • Lord Norton says:

        tory boy: Two weekends elapse between First and Second Reading; there are then usually two weeks before Committee stage commences, and two weekends between Committee and Report stage. The Third Reading is, as you say, normally taken immediately after Report stage.

  2. maude elwes says:

    What gets my goat in all of this churning over whether the Lords should or should be elected is the utter absence of specifics. What is the plan for the voting practice? Who is going to do the voting? And, where as well as how will those selected for these positions be chosen?

    All that seems to be revealed in this is, if you do away with the unelected, who in the main are all appointed anyway, you will get identical cheats to those in the lower chamber. However, with the Commons there is the opportunity of ousting them, sooner or later. This not being the fact in the Lords, hence we are still paying through the nose for the likes of Prescott, Kinnock and his Mrs, and on ad infinitim. Stuck with a bill for those who long ago were seen as unfit for office.

    If it continues this way, it won’t be long before the Lords is fifteen hundred and rising. And they simply duplicate the will of the Commons regardless of whether it’s what the electorate voted for. Or, the people want.

    So, getting rid of the what we have, should the people have any say, will only change our ability to rid ourselves of what has become untennable. And that has to be in our best interests. As without this move, we will be forever stuck with has beens, criminals and ne’er do wells. And the few who are well worth their position, will go on fighting to keep the debris regardless.

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