Lib Dem Voice

Lords Reform 1911-2011: watch the conference meeting

The 1911 Parliament Act, introduced in the wake of the rejection by the House of Lords of Lloyd George’s People’s Budget and the two general elections of 1910, was the first successful reform of the powers of the upper house and gave constitutional supremacy to the elected House of Commons.

One hundred years after the 1911 Parliament Act, the Liberal Democrat History Group’s fringe meeting at Sheffield Conference examined the development of Lords reform since and looked forward to the Coalition’s plans for the most far-reaching changes to the House of Lords since the Liberal governments reforms of 1911 ended the upper houses ability to block legislation:

Derek Williams
Derek Williams

(cross posting) I am not at all in favour of having Lords popularly elected, since we already have the Commons elected, but I do think the selection process needs reform away from its present biased political and religious lines. The European economic crisis, especially in Italy and Greece who have had to install economists in place of elected Prime Ministers to steward their exchequers out of bankruptcy, has shown us that having electable charisma doesn't make you a brilliant manager of money, and Hitler's democratically achieved election also proved that he who is most popular doesn't always embrace the long term best interests of the proletariat. What I would like to see is apolitical consensus appointments to the Lords, based upon acknowledged brilliance in key areas of concern relevant to government, ranging through fiscal, legal, business, military, education, health, police, religion, social, arts et al, who review legislation much as they do now, but from a background of proven rather than presumed or self-proclaimed expertise. Our present system in the Commons requires the ruling party to populate its front bench from the best available out of those who managed to persuade a majority in their electorate to vote for them, but who may not always be the best available either in the country or for the country. I would therefore be dead against replicating this anomaly in the Lords.

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