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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Full house

The cross benchers are revolting. Well that is the distinct impression we get from today's Independent, which highlights complaints from the convener of the crossbenchers in the Lords, Baroness D'Souza that the House of Lords is full-up.

She says that the upper house has been over-run by an "avalanche of not-so-distinguished peers" which has turned the chamber into a "very unpleasant place" to be. Her main objection appears to be towards the political appointees who she says have brought "yah-boo" politics into the Lords.

The paper says that David Cameron has created 117 new peers since last May, an unprecedented increase in recent times, which has taken active membership of the Lords to 792. They add that the size of the chamber is set to increase still further as the Coalition Agreement commits the Government to introducing "proportionality" – which would mean taking the chamber to 1,062 members.

Many of the new peers of course were created by Tony Blair but the good Baroness' complaints are reflective of a wider problem created by an unelected second chamber in which it is virtually impossible to remove existing members. Thus, as each new government seeks to re-balance the Lords to reflect the outcome of the most recent General Election, the number of members grows and grows.

As soon as we have an elected upper house the better, though I am not sure that Baroness D'Souza will be too keen on the inevitable party politicking that will follow such an election.
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