Corbyn pledges to scrap House of Lords and ‘democratise our country from the ground up’

Leadership contender pledges to extend democracy in the country, in communities, in the economy and in the party


Jeremy Corbyn has unveiled plans to tackle Britain’s democratic deficit, including the replacement of the House of Lords with an elected second chamber and greater devolution of power to local communities.

As ballots for the Labour leadership started to go out, Corbyn said he would ‘break open the closed circle of Westminster and Whitehall, and of the boardrooms too’.

His promises include a radical overhaul of the constitution, radical devolution to councils, regions and nations, the replacement of the House of Lords, a greater role for citizens assemblies and greater local control over public services, including an entitlement to call local referendums to challenge privatisation.

On economic democrary, Corbyn has reiterated his commitment to expanding workers’ rights by giving employees greater collective and individual bargaining rights.

Within the Labour Party, he promises to create a charter of rights from party members, expand the national executive to recognise membership increases and do more to empower diverse sections of the membership, including women, working class, black, disabled and LGBT members.

Speaking about his plans the incumbent leadership candidate commented:

“Decisions in Britain are overwhelmingly taken from the top down. And that’s crucial to why our country is run in the interests of a privileged few.

“That has to change – so that the country works in the interests of the millions, and not just the millionaires.

“I believe in the wisdom of ordinary citizens. That’s why we are launching proposals to extend democracy in every part of public life: in national politics, communities, the economy and the workplace – and in our own party.

“Labour under my leadership will listen to ideas from the bottom up – and take radical action to transform and rebuild our country so that no one and no community is left behind. We need nothing less than a democratic revolution in our politics, communities and workplaces.”

Interestingly, Corbyn’s pledge does not make any reference to electoral reform. While other progressive parties believe that scrapping first past the post is essential to building a more robust democracy, Labour tends to be more wary of electoral change.

See also: People want to ‘take back control’ — MPs can make that happen today

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8 Responses to “Corbyn pledges to scrap House of Lords and ‘democratise our country from the ground up’”

  1. FFS 1000

    The main problem at a local level is most people are simply not interested in local government viz the demise of regional assemblies, low council turnouts. Much of the expenditure at local level comes from central government and has to be spent to meet national needs. People don’t want local referendums every time there is some bit of privatisation. People want their bins emptied, their streets lit and swept, decent schools,hospitals,elderly care, libraries and local sports facilities etc. Much of that comes from central taxation.

  2. Michael WALKER

    If Labour really want local democracy they will have to accept some results that they personally and politically disagree with – that is if they are serious.

    After all, much of Lincolnshire would probably vote to reduce immigration into the county. (As would many other areas) And most places would oppose more house building..

  3. Terence Turvey

    A radical approach is needed to ensure democratic process connects with people. Current system is increasingly ‘not fit for purpose’ for the 21st century. Voting in local elections is low but more local and regional democracy, with power, may well improve levels of engagement. The Lords has to go.It is so outdated, elitist and frankly, quite ridiculous.Proportional representation must be included . First past the post is, again, from a past age and is not democratic.Shame there is no mention of PR in these proposals.

  4. Gerri

    He doesn’t seem to have mentioned a proportional voting system. Quite important for a couple of reasons. First Past the Post no longer gives Labour the advantage it used to. And in a proportional system Labour (and the Tories) could happily split into their left & right wings and gain MPs according to votes cast. There would be no more need for Labour to tear itself apart. And the Corbyn campaign would no longer be turbocharged by the intoxicating hubris of smashing the Blair legacy. It would just be another small party like the Greens.

    Failing that at least Labour should consider electoral pacts with broadly left parties such as the Greens.

  5. Eric

    The photo at the top of the article is out of date. Most of those sitting on the front opposition bench no longer sit on the front opposition bench..

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    […] this end, it is therefore encouraging that Jeremy Corbyn has announced plans to abolish the House of Lords and replace it with an elected House. This follows Green Peer Jenny […]

  7. Oliver Cromwell's Chamber Pot

    The Lords should be reformed but not abolished… unless a devolved English Parliament is established, in which case, yes it should. But so long as the Lords exists, there are a number of reforms to make it more effective, you just look at what works and what doesn’t, consolidate the former and tidy up the latter;

    *Cap the membership at 475.
    *150 elected peers; 50 elected across single UK constituency to non-renewable 12-year terms every four years.
    *150 appointed peers, appointed independently by a Lords committee for knowledge, skills, and experience.
    *Removal of power for Prime Minister to appoint unlimited number of new peers.
    *150 hereditary peers, elected by fellow hereditary peers as now.
    *25 Lords Spiritual.
    *Mandatory retirement age at 75 for all peers.
    *Repeal of Parliament Act 1949, restoring to the Lords a two-year veto over primary legislation.
    *All of the above codified in a new Act of Parliament that contains an entrenchment clause explicitly stating that upon passage of and Royal Assent being given to said Bill, any reform of the Lords must originate from and be initiated by the Lords itself.

    Sensible reforms for an effective revising chamber, whereby the primacy of the Commons is maintained, and there is proper proportional representation for parties. I’ll take my £350 in cash now, if you don’t mind…

  8. George Kennard

    Scrap the House of Lords – of course. But the monarchy too, please.

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