Here is the text of a proposed motion on House of Lords reform for the Liberal Democrat autumn conference. It’s been pulled together by various people including those of us in the Liberal Democrats for Lords Reform campaign and we’re now after support from conference reps so that it gets enough names behind it to be able to make it on the agenda.
So if you’re willing to put your name to this motion and you are a voting conference representative for your local party, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name, your membership number and your local party. Many thanks.
From Lords to Senate in 2015
1) the commitment of Asquith’s Liberal Government in the 1911 Parliament Act to “substitute for the House of Lords as it at present exists a Second Chamber constituted on a popular instead of hereditary basis” but that “such substitution [could not] be immediately brought into operation”
2) the commitments of all three major UK parties in their 2010 manifestos to complete comprehensive reform of the House of Lords
3) Labour’s three previous manifesto commitments to Lords reform in 1997, 2001 and 2005
4) the longstanding policies of the Liberal Democrats, and of our predecessor parties, in favour of a wholly or mainly elected Lords, demonstrated in repeated manifesto commitments
5) that the Coalition Government is the first to honour its manifesto pledges on House of Lords reform by publishing a draft Bill and White Paper to bring democracy to the second chamber of Parliament
Conference congratulates Nick Clegg and David Cameron for making a joint commitment to elections in 2015, after 13 years of Labour dithering and failure. Conference condemns Labour’s divided, opportunistic and hypocritical response.
Conference believes that the White Paper proposals:
i. will ensure neither heredity nor patronage determines who sits in Parliament
ii. retain the primacy of the House of Commons by leaving the Parliament Acts in place
iii. retain the best of the existing House’s independent spirit and long-term thinking while allowing the public to choose those who legislate on their behalf
iv. will strengthen Parliament as a whole in its ability to check the power of the Executive
Conference further believes that the Joint Committee on Lords Reform will need particularly to examine the issues of:
- gender balance and diversity in the new chamber
- the size of the House, and the likely workload of its members
- which proportional electoral system to use
- whether or not to retain a small appointed element
Conference welcomes the Joint Committee’s commitment to constructive pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Bill and congratulates the Government on being the first to bring forward legislation after a century of broken promises by previous administrations.
Conference reaffirms its commitment to longstanding Party policy, and to repeated manifesto commitments, in favour of an elected House of Lords and calls on Parliament to ensure that legislation is in place to make Lords elections happen in 2015.