Fifteen year terms for new members would be a startby Terry Burns / November 10, 2017 / Leave a comment
“It so happens that if there is an institution in Great Britain which is not susceptible of any improvement at all, it is the House of Peers!”—Lord Mount in Iolanthe, by W S Gilbert
When I agreed to an invitation by the Lord Speaker, Norman Fowler, to chair a committee to look at how to reduce the excessive size of the House of Lords, I did so in the knowledge that it was not our task to complete the second stage of the reforms initiated by the House of Lords Act 1999. Indeed, whatever your views on the composition of the House, it is necessary only to glance at the astonishing number of failed attempts at reform since Lloyd George’s day and the 1911 Parliament Act to realise what a hubristic ambition that would be in the current political climate.
In fact, regardless of the political climate, experience since most hereditary peers were removed from parliament under the 1999 Act has shown that the way to improve the House is by taking small, consensual steps which seek to address the weaknesses of the House without imperilling its strengths.