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House of Lords Reform Bill — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:13 pm on 17th May 2011.

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Photo of Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 4:13 pm, 17th May 2011

My Lords, the Statement says very clearly that people have a right to choose their representatives. If this House is to become a House of representatives, it will have to have the real powers to represent. The Leader of the House has spoken about the mandate of the people. In answer to the points raised by the noble Lord, Lord Wakeham, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Howe, he said, "Yes indeed, the powers of the House would have to change if there were to be an elected House, or an 80 per cent elected House". Can he explain how his commitment on that sits alongside paragraph 7 of the White Paper, which states:

"The Government believes that the change in composition of the second chamber ought not to change the status of that chamber as a House of Parliament or the existing constitutional relationship between the two Houses of Parliament"?

Surely those things cannot be true. This House cannot have more powers to do the job as a House of representatives and the relationship between the two Houses remain the same. The two are completely inconsistent, and I would be grateful if the noble Lord would explain it.