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Hereditary Peer By-elections

Oral Answers to Questions — Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th September 2018.

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Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Labour, Delyn 12:00 am, 12th September 2018

What assessment he has made of the merits of the by-election system used to elect hereditary peers in the House of Lords.

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, Assistant Whip

The Government are clear that comprehensive reform of the House of Lords that requires legislation is not a priority for this Government. We would welcome working with peers on measures that could command consensus, so we welcome the work of the Lord Speaker’s Committee, chaired by Lord Burns.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Labour, Delyn

It should be a priority. Forty-three hereditary peers just elected another hereditary peer to a seat in Parliament with 43 votes. That is nonsense on sticks. It should be scrapped and the Government should bring forward proposals.

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, Assistant Whip

I am not sure there was a question there that I can answer. I say with great respect to the right hon. Gentleman that he assiduously raises this issue at oral questions time after time. I understand his arguments, but the Government’s position is as I put it.

Photo of David Davies David Davies Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee

Does my hon. Friend agree that there is no place for hereditary legislatures and that they should not be supported by a party that claims it wants to build a meritocratic Britain?

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, Assistant Whip

I respect my hon. Friend’s argument just as much as I respect that of David Hanson, but the answer remains the same: there is an enormous amount of work in front of both Houses of Parliament at this time and this is not a priority.