House of Lords Reform

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 4:28 pm on 6th March 2007.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 4:28 pm, 6th March 2007

I shall make progress before giving way. I have already accepted a number of interventions.

Turning to the substance of the Government proposals, the White Paper recommends, as has been said, that in the other place 20 per cent. of Members should be appointed by a statutory appointments commission; 30 per cent. should be appointed by political parties; and 50 per cent. elected by a list electoral system, representing, as my right hon. Friend Mr. Redwood said, the European regional constituencies. The Leader of the House likes to present his proposals as a sensible compromise that would strengthen Parliament, but in reality they are a messy compromise that would weaken Parliament. Far from making the Lords more independent, the proposal puts composition in the gift of political parties. Far from strengthening Parliament, it risks the loss of the present benefits of the Lords. Far from removing cronyism, it perpetuates it.

We want a House of Lords that is elected by the many but, under the proposals, it would be selected by the few. Yes, 50 per cent. of peers would be elected, but the Government propose to use a list system . [ Interruption. ] [Hon. Members: "Oh!"] It is probably a good job that I did not hear the sedentary intervention by Fiona Mactaggart.