.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Is amending UK Government legislation in the House of Lord an abuse of the democratic process?

Today's Guardian reports on the very welcome vote in the House of Lords in which Labour and Liberal Democrat peers teamed up for the second time this week to change the cities and local government devolution bill so as to give the vote to 16 and 17 year olds in Council elections.

They are also planning to stage similar changes to the EU referendum bill to give 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in that poll when it comes to the Lords later this year.

The paper says that this vote sets the stage for a dramatic stand-off between the two houses on the issue, as the government will now probably try to overturn the amendment when the legislation goes to the Commons. If there is no agreement on amendments, a bill can enter the stage of “ping-pong” where it passes back and forth between the Commons and the Lords.

At least one tweet I saw this morning questioned whether the Liberal Democrats should be doing this given the drubbing we received in the General Election. His point was that using the House of Lords to amend legislation is undemocratic.

Putting aside the fact that the Conservative Government did not attract a majority of votes either and as such has a democratic mandate based on a tired and unaccountable voting system, the use of the House of Lords to scrutinise and revise legislation is what it is for. The final say lies with the democratically elected House of Commons and that is entirely right.

And let us not forget that it was the Liberal Democrats who wanted to democratise the second chamber but found their proposals blocked by the Conservatives and by dubious Labour tactics.

For once Cameron is reaping what he sowed.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?