I blogged yesterday and a few days before that that the current Labour party leadership race provides the perfect opportunity for Labour and the SNP to kill off the House of Lords and replace it with something less ridiculous. Today, The Scotland on Sunday today reports that the SNP’s Angus Brendan McNeil is now pushing that agenda forward by asking the other opposition parties not to nominate new Lords. Jeremy Corbyn has, sensibly and rightly, signed up. Every other candidate for the Labour leadership and Deputy leadership should now be challenged on the issue as a matter of urgency.

The Scotland on Sunday report suggests that the UK government has the final say. Journos pretty much have to put that in as a balancer. In truth, with no opposition benches the House of Lords would be a dead duck. It’s really as simple as that. Labour and the SNP, working together, can make a progressive change to the nation on a scale which no opposition party in democratic history has been able to achieve before.

Ah, but wait for the voices saying how complicated it (i.e. democracy) would be. How it would take years to even think about it. Absolute nonsense. Drawing up plans for a modest-sized revising chamber based upon democratic elections across the UK (for now) would be entirely straightforward. The alternative – people literally buying their way into our legislature – is the one we’d pay the bigger price for. Selling seats in a legislature is corruption, pure and simple.

“Hey, developing world state, if you don’t democtratise and sort out the corruption we’ll cancel your aid budget. Ah, Tarquin, thanks for that £2m – here’s your lifetime seat in the upper house”?


11 Responses to Labour and the SNP together really can #killthelords. Let’s do it.
  1. Furthermore, if we do switch to a second elected chamber, I hope we will also be getting a third, fourth, fifth and so on and so on (all the way to infinity – jobs for everyone!) because who will scrutinise the scrutinisers?

    Politics needs completely revamped to remove things like allowances, expenses, donations – basically dirty money. But that will never happen, because the system is clogged with selfish you-know-whats who only care about their own pockets.

    And you wonder why people are so apathetic.

    • Pretty much every legislature operates on the basis of a revising chamber. Just the one, like… I think any replacement would be quite bit cheaper – it’d be much smaller even counting the fact that most peers don’t attend much.

      Btw, people aren’t apathetic at all at the moment. It’s why conventional politics is getting blown all over the place. IMHO. 🙂

      • Thanks for your reply by the way.

        But I think most people are completely apathetic because we are so sick and disgusted by the way politics is done in this country (UK) now.

        You probably have a different opinion because you are a politician of sorts and mix with different people in comparison to me. And the ‘ordinary folk’ you encounter are probably quite into politics. I can’t see why a completely politically-apathetic man-on-the-street would bother talking to politicians at all. Argue, perhaps, but talk about Lords reform? Doubt it!

    • Forgot to say thanks, Scott, RJF, Dave, Stephen! Whit a bam.

      • Your point about a Senate being cheaper is wrong. The Lords as it stands is actually significantly cheaper than the Commons. That “£300 a day expenses” gets thrown around a lot, but it bears remembering that that’s ALL Lords get – they don’t get salaries, and they don’t get index-linked pensions either. If a Lord attended literally every day of Parliament he could only claim a maximum of less than half an MP’s annual salary, and that’s before you add on the MP’s own expenses.

        Take a look at these figures: http://lordsoftheblog.net/2013/11/16/the-cost-of-the-house/

        Even though there are 133% Lords as MPs, the cost of running the Lords is just 22% of the cost of the Commons – an individual MP is almost five times more expensive as an individual Lord.

        If you replace the Lords with a Senate then those Senators are going to demand salaries, expenses and staff befitting their status as elected representatives. When MPs awarding themselves a payrise in a time of austerity was a scandal, no-one can justify spending literally hundreds of millions of public money on a game of musical chairs for politicians.

  2. We do not need a second unelected chamber.

    We do not need a second elected chamber.

    What we do need, is for career politicians to be booted out and replaced with normal people.

    Self-serving laws need scrutinising. Remove self-serving people from the system and the problem is solved.

    The idea of scrapping the Lords and replacing it with a new elected chamber is just a waste of money and people don’t want it (no surprises that it’s Labour who are calling for it). We are fed up of going to work every day for peanuts and having politicians piss all our taxes up the wall. This is why Labour have been eliminated in Scotland. You do not give a toss about working people or the money we contribute. Just a shame it’s the SNP who replaced you. And by Labour calling for a second elected chamber shows that you still don’t get it and you’ve learned nothing from your GE defeat.

    How about this – a new law that says you can only be an MP for 5 years / 1 parliament IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE. Parliament should never be seen as a career because that results in completely the wrong sort of people going into it.

    Rant over…..for now.

    • It’s a view. Another is that you really need a revising function. Holyrood’s unicameral because it doesn’t pass much legislation by comparison with Westminster – the committees carry out the oversight in theory. With indy, there’d need to be a second chamber I think. However, I know some senior politicians who think the UK could be unicameral…

      • Surely it’s the job of all opposition parties (i.e. all non-government parties) to scrutinise and review legislation? I honestly see no need for a second chamber at all. But that’s just my opinion – I suppose I wouldn’t object to a second chamber, but it would have to be 100% elected, expense free and non-career based. We do not need or want the Commons mark 2.

  3. Again, a House of Lords with no Labour peers would still have almost 300 Lib Dem, crossbench and other peers, more than the number of Tory peers.

    Party affiliations are less important in the Lords, anyway. It is a technocratic chamber that exists to review, revise and refine legislation – it’s not a rival senate which is in legislative competition with the Commons. If Labour abandoned the Lords it could still continue to fulfil its role quite effectively, while also reducing the large membership size which some commentators have decided is a problem.

    Boycotting the Lords isn’t going to make the Government abolish it – if anything, it’d entrench it to be seen as not bowing to Opposition pressure.

    A Lords boycott is meaningless grandstanding. It is pointless at best and actively counterproductive at worst.

  4. One thing I don’t understand: why is it an opportunity now? Couldn’t Labour have pulled their reps out at any time in the past to the same effect? Or is it the relative non-existence of Lib Dems in the Commons that makes the difference?

    • Yep. But these are remarkable times – the SNP’s strength as a boycotter is much greater than it was before. It’s very significant that the third party boycotts. If labour joined, it would go down.


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