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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:53 pm on 18th June 2018.

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Photo of Justin Madders Justin Madders Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care) 4:53 pm, 18th June 2018

I was not aware of that. In the past, some people have had issues to do with their involvement in making donations to political parties or with paying their taxes. It is absolutely right that someone resident in this country and taking part in the democratic process should be subject to the same rules as every other citizen.

We are told that expertise and knowledge is in such abundance among Members of the other place that radical reform would pose a risk to the ability of Parliament to scrutinise legislation. The truth, however, is that out of the 13 most recent nominations, seven were former Members of Parliament, one a former general secretary of the Labour party and one a former deputy chairman of the Conservative party. Indeed, since the Life Peerages Act 1958, a third of the 1,452 peers created have been former MPs who were therefore relieved of the bothersome inconvenience of having to obtain the consent of the electorate before being allowed to continue in public life. Many more nominees were councillors, party donors or staff. Of the Members appointed since May 2010, half are either former MPs or former local councillors, and a further fifth are former special advisers or party employees.

It appears that there is very little difference between the qualifications and types of people in the two Houses. In response to the argument about expertise, what is it about earning the legitimacy of the popular vote that precludes a person from having expertise on a particular subject? The House of Commons has plenty of experts from all walks of life. The fact that they have to face elections does not seem to prevent them from coming here in the first place.