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Opportunity to reform The Lords has been missed as Johnson packs Lords

August 25, 2020 6:00 PM
By Bryan Lewis
Originally published by City of Wolverhampton Liberal Democrats

Johnson stuffs Lords with appointments in Brexit payback

Britain's ability to speak up for democracy abroad has just taken a major self-inflicted hit. wrote Darren Hughes for

"Corruption in England deepens: Johnson has promoted his brother...and the son of a KGB agent to aristocratic status," one Czech newspaper story ran, on the news of 36 new peers being packed in to the Lords.

Le Figaro in France said: "With these newcomers, the House of Lords is expected to exceed 800 members, appointed for life".

Agenzia Italia: "The 36 new investitures include many loyalists and expand the already abnormal number of members of the Upper House, who sometimes do not even go there."

Hughes wrote: There were dozens more headlines like this internationally and at home. All with one clear message: Britain's unelected chamber is turning the mother of parliaments into a laughing stock.

Any claim to the Lords' independence is being shattered as we speak, after the government over-rode a decision of the Lords themselves to reduce their numbers to 600 through a one-in-two-out system.

Even the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, condemned the move, saying that some of the new peers will be merely "passengers". Lord Fowler told the BBC's Today Programme: "I do think the prime minister has got to stop these kinds of mass appointments because I think the public are unimpressed with it… it is not necessary - we don't need a House of Lords of 830." Make no mistake. This is a brazen batch of cronyistic appointments.

At over 800 members, this bloated chamber is becoming a cruel joke on the public. But if the Lords are to have any credibility, they must now put their apparent anger into action and propose legislation to finally introduce some accountability into the unelected house.

The appointments - which seem dominated by party loyalists in London and the South East - exacerbate a worrying trend.

Last week the ERS found that nearly a quarter of peers are based in London, compared to just 13% of the UK public. Over half - 55% of peers - live in the capital, or the East and South East of England, while peers in the East and West Midlands make up just six per cent between them

Peers in London, the South East and the East of England are over-represented by almost 20 percentage points more than the population share for these regions (36%). The North West and East and West Midlands are the most underrepresented regions in the House of Lords when compared with their population share.

The unelected House of Lords is looking increasingly like a Westminster private members' club, with voices outside of London and the South East locked out. This totally undermines the government's stated intention to 'level up' the regions, when we have a Chamber that is skewed towards one patch of England.

In a recent article the City of Wolverhampton Liberal Democrats wrote:

On reform of the House of Lords, Boris Johnson wrote in the Daily Telegraph on 30 January 2003:

"Tony Blair wants to expel the remaining heredities and have a fully appointed Upper House. As soon as one imagines the Appointments Committee that will create this chamber, one sees how rank the whole operation will be.

"Think of the lunches; the hackery; the behind-the-scenes schmoozing and fixing; the quiet words from the Government Chief Whip; the winking, the nose-tapping, the soft belching in the Savoy Grill Room, or Glyndebourne, or Ascot. It's a disgusting way to choose the revising chamber of a great and ancient legislature. That is why it attracts a machine politician and power freak like Blair, and that is why it repels former foreign secretary Robin, who still has something of the democrat about him. Like some thoughtful people on the Tory benches, Cook wants a wholly elected chamber. This would protect the Upper House from jobbery and the Prime Minister's desire to stuff it with his cronies."

­­­­Is Boris Johnson an honourable man who stick to his principles? What a silly question! We all know he isn't. He has made more appointments to the over bloated Lords. We didn't predict how appallingly corrupt his appointments would be:- nepotism (his brother Jo), Tory donors (e.g. Michael Spicer £4,600,000), Brexiteers (Claire Fox - former activist in a Trotskyist sect) and sycophants (Evgeny Lebedev - owner of the London Evening Standard which gave Johnson an easy ride when he was Mayor of London).

There's now nearly 800 in the Lords and only the national people's congress of the People's Republic of China is larger. The USA's Senate has just 100 members - all elected by their states.

In the Observer of 9th August 2020 Andrew Rawnsley wrote:"A critical mass of MPs has never wanted to allow the other house to acquire more democratic legitimacy and the enhanced authority that would come with it.

A ridiculous second chamber persists because many MPs think it in their interests to keep the Lords incredible. If you want to blame someone for the absurdities of the Lords, point your finger not at the peers. The real villains are, and always have been, sitting in the Commons.

Boris's main excuse is 'Brexit balance... enough said.

Source: Britains reputation declines as Johnson stuffs Lords with appointments

Darren Hughes is the CEO of the Electoral Reform Society

"City of Wolverhampton Liberal Democrats (article subsequently modified by East Suffolk Liberal Democrats)