Posts Tagged ‘west lothian question’

After Clegg’s strop, it’s time for a grown up approach to Lords reform

29/08/2012, 07:00:02 AM

by George Foulkes

When, earlier this month, Nick Clegg announced the demise of his ill-judged and ill thought out plans to reform the House of Lords, he was in a terrible strop. So much so, that he rubbished any proposal to improve the present composition of the second chamber.

David Steel, Helene Hayman and others have proposed a number of measures which would make the current composition and method of appointment more sensible and greatly reduce the ridiculously large size. Hereditary peers could be phased out by ending the laughable by-election provision for so called ‘vacancies’ when hereditaries pass away. Weeding out poor and non- attendees and bringing in a retirement provision could provide the biggest reduction. New members meanwhile could be approved by an expanded and statutory appointments commission and some guidance criteria for appointments published.

Clegg would have none of this. He does not want to add any credibility to what he considers to be a totally discredited House.

In doing so, the deputy prime minister is adopting a typical Marxist/Leninist revolutionary posture: “do not improve the hated institution of government or you will delay the revolution”. But it should be evident to Mr Clegg that the only intelligent way to achieve his goal of Lords reform is through two stage evolution.

Stage one is the kind of tidying up of the present arrangements described above which remove the worst aspects of the status quo – huge size, hereditaries and lack of transparency in appointment.

Stage two however, could be started simultaneously to allay the fears of those who think stage one is a ploy to cast real reform back into the long grass. And this would be found upon the recommendation of the alternative report of the joint committee.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon