Over the Bank Holiday, I thought I’d check exactly what Labour’s manifesto says about getting a House of Lords where at least a majority of its members are elected. After 13 years in power with repeated commissions, studies and votes on the matter, not to mention senior Labour figures proclaiming their commitment to having at least some democracy in the Lords, you’ve have thought they’d be planning to get a move on.
But oh boy.
Under Labour’s manifesto it’ll take one Parliament (typically 4 years) to get to a one-third elected House of Lords.
Then it will take another full Parliament (typically another 4 years) to get to a two-thirds elected House of Lords.
Or in other words, Labour has pencilled in a date 21 years after their 1997 election victory for getting a majority elected element in the Lords. Not exactly speedy is it?
What’s more the first round of elections (for the one-third elected stage) wouldn’t actually be proper elections where you get to choose between different parties because, under Labour’s plans, “until the final stage, the representation of all groups should be maintained in equal proportions to now”.
No wonder so many democratic reforms who cheered on Tony Blair in 1997 have now abandoned the Labour Party and are supporting the Liberal Democrats.