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Thread: To elect or not to elect the House of Lords

  1. #1

    Default To elect or not to elect the House of Lords

    Arguments for:
    • It's democratic. We want the House of Lords to represent the voters needs and wants and not reflect the active Governments remaining political capital.
    • Appointments to the House of Lords are made based on party donations, peers and ex-MP's turned unelected advisors (source) (source)

    Arguments against
    • It diverts the Lords' attention away from doing what needs to be done and instead Lords have to think about election and, re-election, ultimately impacting the work they do.
    • There are a number of checks and balances already in place to prevent the HoL passing legislation that's largely unpopular. There is the option to write to, campaign against and lobby and member of the House of Lords and the HoL have championed popular policy before the House of Commons (such as same sex marriage, iirc).

    Your thoughts?
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  2. #2
    MartinJames's Avatar
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    The experts in the Lords are often not generally the kind of charismatic and 'electable' individuals. For example, Lord Norton can seem quite dry to some people, but his expertise in the UK constitution - among many other things - is invaluable.
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  3. #3


    A significant proportion should be unelected. The Lords play a vital role in proper scrutiny of legislation - elected politicians (with some notable exceptions) tend to be too focused on the popularity contest and short-termism that goes with the election cycle. All the better if they have a degree of financial comfort already (pension; comfortable standard from time in private sector etc.) as it makes them less prone to lobbying/financial perks. There are a wealth of Lords who weren't big donors or explicitly political appointees (again, the inherited titles, civil servants, academics, even the bishops etc. - the concept of a cross bench peer is really important)

  4. #4
    Mr Fantastic

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    Having seen some of people who are allowed to vote in this country...(just watch an episode of Jeremy Kyle or speak to the morons who watch TOWIE) then you will see we need an unelected house of Lords.
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  5. #5


    Interesting points that I see a lot of merit in.

    - The House of Lords is the second-largest legislative assembly in the world, with 780 peers, after China's National People's Congress. (source)
    - A Survation poll has found that 76% of those survey'd would like to see members elected for fixed terms (baring in mind this is a poll which found 32% of people would support abolishing the HoL, suggesting the argument is more likely to be won over headlines and drug scandals than logic and reason). (source) (breakdown of poll)

    TheWeek do also point out the expertise and experience point of view, something that can't be found in newly elected members "These are people with immense expertise, an important counterbalance to the Commons," and compares an elected House of Lords to the US Senate, pointing out the grid lock and government shut downs they have experienced. Many of those points mentioned above already. The campaigner in me is fascinated with the prospect of an elected upper house though.
    Last edited by Hawkery; 30 Aug 2015 at 01:22 PM.
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  6. #6


    The UK system doesn't get gridlock or government shutdowns though. We don't set budget limits in quite the same way, and there is a mechanism to override gridlock in certain circumstances - or they just keep ping-ponging until the year runs out. I've not known it to happen for trivial reasons tho. ( is one of the interesting parts)

  7. #7
    New Poster Sapient's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
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    What makes the Lords fit to serve? I've always been fond of technocracy.

    In America, we need term limits on our Congress. Otherwise, you get more reelection campaigning and less working, as you can see.

    I'm curious if term limits would work in favor of the House of Lords.

    EDIT: I think the hereditary peers, such as the Dukes should be disbanded. As for the PM and HoL nominated other appointments, it seems that it becomes a "Good old boys club" within the British government. Those in the upper classes and who you know. It rubs me the wrong way (Yes, I understand I'm not British, but I'm sure several people will tell me regardless of the fact).
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