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House of Lords Reform — Motion to Take Note (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:46 pm on 15th September 2015.

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Photo of Lord Willoughby de Broke Lord Willoughby de Broke UKIP 7:46 pm, 15th September 2015

My Lords, I strongly support the Motion of my noble friend Lord Pearson, and I will not rehearse the arguments he made so persuasively. I think it is common ground now in this House—even, I sense, after this evening’s debate—and certainly in the country at large, that it is absurd for a party which got nearly 4 million votes at the recent election not to be offered any representation whatever in this House, while the Lib Dems, who got exactly one-third of UKIP’s vote in the general election, have been given 11 extra peerages and will now be grossly overrepresented with, I believe, 112 Peers.

The noble Lord, Lord Steel, warned my noble friend Lord Pearson to be careful what he wished for, because we have only one MP in the Commons, while the Lib Dems have eight. They have eight MPs and 113 Peers. By simple arithmetic, that is 14 Peers per MP, so UKIP deserves at least 14 Peers here—QED, I think. I hope that the noble Baroness the Leader of the House will take note of that. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Steel, for raising that point.

I wonder in passing who was the genius who advised the Prime Minister to create 11 extra Liberal Democrat Peers. He must have known that they would routinely vote against him, particularly when it comes to the EU Bill, which we will be considering shortly. The Bill is coming to this House on 13 October, I think, for its Second Reading. This House has a Europhile bias. That is not a complaint or a stricture, it is just a fact. We have a galaxy of starry ex-Commissioners, ex-MEPs, European officials and advisers, all of whom have a Europhile bias, just because of the jobs that they have been doing. The EU Select Committee is heavily overweight with EU enthusiasts.

During the previous Government, Members on the coalition Front Bench vied with each other to make cheap cracks at UKIP, its leaders and the people who supported it. It is quite wrong that we should have no better representation in this House. It is also short-sighted because—and I find that some of the pro-EU Members of this House find this hard to believe—let us remember that outside this House UKIP won the European elections last year, defeating the Conservatives and Labour, and leaving the Lib Dems with only one MEP. All the recent polls have shown that about half of those polled want to leave the EU.

It is absurd that the millions of people who believe that this country can be run without advice from Brussels and without the help of the Brussels bureaucracy are so underrepresented in this House when it comes to debates on European Union matters. In spite of the best efforts of my noble friend Lord Pearson, we are still being stymied by Number 10 and the Prime Minister. We have been offered no more Peers. I hope that the Leader of the House will understand our deep concern at this loss and this fear of giving us more representation. I hope she will do her very best to put this right.