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

These are obviously unusual circumstances for all manner of reasons. Brexit and the two-year Session are incredibly unusual. I have talked a lot about the fact that, in my view, the Lords have overstepped their remit. The petitioner is not talking about the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, so I will park that after this point. We need to look at the Bill as a whole. The Lords may be thwarting the Government now, but it depends on how the process finishes. If we can get the Bill into the form originally intended after consideration of Lords amendments on Wednesday and Third Reading, even if it has been amended, which is exactly what the Lords are there to do, as long as it has not been amended beyond recognition and its original remit—there will have been a lot of tension—we will have got there in the end. A lot of the things we do in this place may look odd or arcane to people, but they tend to have a way of working. That is done not just in the Chamber, but through the usual channels and debate and discussion outside the Chamber.

The reforms have been only half completed. The possibility of having an elected Chamber has been mentioned. That is one option. Do we abolish? Do we go elected? Do we have a hybrid system with a mix of elected and appointed peers, or do we keep it the same? I do not think anybody is saying we should keep it exactly the same. We went through the process of looking at an elected House of Lords before my time in this place, and nobody could agree on the detail. Although there was a lot of sympathy for having at least an elected element of the House of Lords, no one could say what percentage it should be and how long the terms should be. That is one reason why it did not go through. It will take a lot of parliamentary time—I am interested to hear what the Minister has to say about this—if that proposal were to come back to us. What could we agree on and coalesce around?