Just one in 10 think Lords should remain unelected

The government has announced it will be launching a review into the powers of the House of Lords


Just one in 10 think the House of Lords should remain unelected, according to a new poll by the Electoral Reform Society.

The findings come after the government announced it will be launching a review into the powers of the House of Lords, led by Conservative hereditary peer Lord Strathclyde.

The former leader of the House of Lords told the BBC that the Lords had the “power but not the authority” to challenge the Commons over the issue, adding that they had behaved “deplorably” by seeking major changes to tax credits cuts.

According to the poll, by BMG Research almost half (48 per cent) of the public think the Lords should be an elected chamber, while nearly a quarter (22 per cent) back abolition. This compares to one in ten who back the status quo.

Commenting on the poll, deputy chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society Darren Hughes said the public “want real reform of the House of Lords – not just tinkering around the edges”:

“The time for root and branch reform is now – it is simply wrong in a modern democracy for legislators to remain unelected.

“The government are tying themselves in knots over the question of Lords reform, with George Osborne saying he supports an elected upper house, while this review only looks at the issue of conventions. They shouldn’t be making changes to our constitution out of partisan interest, just because they lost a couple of votes – they have to deal with the crux of the matter: the make-up of the constitutional calamity that is the House of Lords.

“Instead of simply emasculating our revising chamber, they should ensure it has the legitimacy it needs to be a real check on executive power. That can only happen through electing it.”

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.