Federal Executive will return to Interim Peers Panel elections issue

Back in July I covered the news that the Federal Executive (FE) was cancelling this autumn’s elections to the Liberal Democrat Interim Peers Panel.

Here is what the FE’s report to the Autumn Liberal Democrat Conference in Brighton says on the matter:

The Committee came to the decision that given the current passage through Parliament of legislation for an elected House of Lords, we would postpone this year’s elections and extend the panels elected in 2008 and 2010. Given recent developments, this matter will be revisited by FE in the near future.

Most likely, that will include consideration of changes to the way the Interim Peers Panel works, with proposals being put to the Spring 2013 conference.

9 responses to “Federal Executive will return to Interim Peers Panel elections issue”

  1. Why not just not appoint anyone? Making appointments merely legitimises the Lords and makes you look hypocritical.

    • b/c in the meanwhile, we need to maintain our presence and rise it in line with the growing presence of the other parties who are more represented than we are.

    • You have a presence in the House of Lords – a significant one. All creating new peers will do is show that you are actually quite au fait with the status quo (despite protestations to the contrary). What's worse, it will mean packing the place with yet more people who will find "principled" reasons for going against party policy when it comes to abolishing themselves and will entrench the power of a party leader who will be free to stuff it with his own placemen.

      We are so close to finally replacing the Lords with a democratic second chamber. The old guard who blocked reform for so many years during the Labour years will have almost totally gone after the next election. All you will do by appointing more people now is make that change harder.

    • I agree with Kevin on this. I think you are hugely over-stating the impact a Lib Dem boycott would have on Tory backbench MPs or the Labour front bench (the two key groups who, if either had decided to really go for Lords reform, could have made it happen this time round).

      I think you're also under-stating the number of close votes there are on other issues, on which extra Lib Dem voting numbers could make a difference. (Your use of "all…" rules out any extra Lib Dem peers ever having an impact on anything; quite a sweeping statement even if made for effect!).

      Conversely, what's your reason for thinking a boycott would have an effect; for example, are there examples of similar ones working on other occasions?

    • I obviously can't give you a past example as the Lib Dems have never done it before and there is nothing analogous – talk about a straw man.

      Another straw man fallacy is to pick out my use of the word "all".

      You are talking about narrow tactical wins when there is a much bigger issue at stake. And by refusing to appoint new peers now, you put the pressure on Ed Miliband and David Cameron to do likewise.

      You can hardly complain about the House of Lords rapidly heading towards having 1,000 members while bending over backwards to do everything you can to make it as large as possible.

      Finally, there is the question about how these appointments will be made. The interim peers panel system was only ever intended as a temporary solution. And it would be charitable to suggest that it has never worked. Leaders simply cherry pick their favourites from the panel, exploit every loophole going, and even (as in the case of the last round) simply ignore the rules if it doesn't suit them.

      Regardless of Clegg's immediate status as leader, does the party really want him stuffing the Lords parliamentary party with his personal placemen to shore up his own status and personal politics? It would be incredibly foolish for it to do so.

      PS I think you should declare your interest in posts on this subject.

    • James: It's your choice to use the word "all", so it's hardly unreasonable for me to therefore pick up on the fact that you've chosen to make such a sweeping statement. If that's not your view, the answer is to pick different words 🙂

      On the more general point, I'm puzzled why – if you can't point to any analogous situation either previously in Britain or elsewhere in the world – you're also so absolutely sure that you've used such firm and sweeping statements on here and on Twitter. Saying 'here's something never done before which might work, but we don't know' would be interesting – but that's quite a few notches below the sort of comments you've made.

      Saying the Lib Dems should take up opportunities to strengthen their presence in the Lords is very different from your characterisation of it as "bending over backwards to do everything you can to make it as large as possible". "Everything you can" – you really don't think you're exaggerating just a bit there?

      And again, it's hardly a straw man to ask what the evidence if you've got for being so sure your view is the right one about the likely outcome of what you propose. If anything, dismissing a question about what evidence you've got as a straw man, is a bit straw mannish itself 🙂

    • Mark: there is no precedent, and you know it. Stop playing games. If the model of the House of Lords was commonly replicated around the world to the extent that I could come up with analogous examples that you insist must be out there, it wouldn't be quite such an indefensible system.

    • James – I was casting my net widely with the question, not just geographically because – as you say – the Lords isn't exactly a common model! However, there are cases where people call for boycotts (e.g the SNP's attitude towards the Lords, I think? or the views of some towards Police Commissioner elections). I can't think of any case of such a boycott however which has had the sort of effect of so damaging the institution that it brings about its demise or hastens that. Hence my scepticism that a boycott in this case – by the 3rd party in particular – would have any impact.

      Given the certainty which which you've expressed your views on several occasions you obviously take a different view. So what's the evidence for the view you take about the likely impact of a boycott? If it's not examples for analogous boycotts, is it what you've heard, say Labour front benchers say in private? Or someone else? Or some other sort of evidence?

      As I said, I think it's hardly a straw man to ask for evidence; I'm not sure what other grounds there should be for judging how likely a boycott is to succeed?

    • Oops – missed out a couple of words in my second sentence. Meant to say "However, there are cases *in other similar situations* where people call for boycotts…"

      Sorry for any confusion!

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