House of Lords: Abolition — [Mr Charles Walker in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 18th June 2018.

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Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Chair, International Development Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact 4:30 pm, 18th June 2018

I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention. A unicameral system can work perfectly well and I have no doubt that we would survive quite happily with such a system, but the House of Lords can, and often—though not always—does offer something that is related to its composition: one advantage of having an appointed system is that we can bring in experts who can add expertise that we do not necessarily have in the Commons.

To give some examples, from the world of science we have the brain pioneer Baroness Greenfield, fertility expert Lord Winston, and Lord Darzi. From business, we have the former chief executive of HSBC Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, Lord Rose from Marks & Spencer, and Lord Sugar. For social policy challenges, we have Baroness Newlove, Baroness Lawrence and Lord Bird, the creator of The Big Issue. When it comes to culture, we have Lord Bragg and the former head of the BBC, Lord Hall. We also have both the Lords Palumbo: one was chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain; the younger, Lord Palumbo of Southwark, was the founder of the Ministry of Sound. We have sporting people, such as Baroness Grey-Thompson; people from public services such as Lord Dannatt, who adds military expertise, and Lord Hogan-Howe, a former Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

We also have people from the security services, philanthropists, human rights campaigners, religious leaders—beyond the obvious statutory role of the bishops—legal experts, academics and, of course, former Members of this place, who at least have an understanding of the parliamentary process and can help to get business through. Perhaps we can cover that in a bit more detail later.