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Friday, August 28, 2015

Latest peers' list underlines need for reform

I blogged a few weeks ago that the Liberal Democrats should boycott the peerage meery-go-round and refuse to nominate any more members of the bloated House of Lords. I was disappointed, but not surprised therefore to read yesterday that my advice had been ignored and that Nick Clegg had decided to add eleven more Liberal Democrats to our group there.

I have no problem with any of those individuals, however I do feel that as a party it is difficult to defend a position whereby we are nominating more new peers than we have MPs and where we are advocating reform but still playing the game of adding members to the world's second largest legislative body after China's National People's Congress.

Despite having 826 members, in 2014/15 the average daily attendance in the House of Lords was 483 peers. According to the latest House of Lords Annual Report, net operating costs for the chamber totalled £94.4m for 2014/15. There is no accountability for any of this and no way to reduce the membership of our second chamber through enforced retirement.

I understand that as a party we need to work with the institutions we have but our failure to take a stand, and the decision of Nick Clegg to play the game so completely, undermines our credibility as a reforming party and makes it much more difficult to get a hearing on our democratic alternative.
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