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Conservatives bid to save the remaining hereditary peers

Lords chamber The Sunday Times reports this morning that the Conservatives want to stop the Government from ousting the remaining ninety hereditary peers from the House of Lords - which seems nothing more than a naked attempt to reduce the Tories' strength in the Upper House yet further, rather than being part of a concerted attempt to make wider reforms.

The report states:

"The Conservatives want to scupper new legislation that would begin the process of removing the 90 remaining aristocrats who have seats in the upper house by virtue of their lineage. In a move that has outraged both Labour and the Liberal Democrats, they have put down an amendment to the Constitutional Reform Bill which calls for the deletion of the clause ending the hereditary principle. Dominic Grieve, the shadow justice secretary, says he will not sign up to “piecemeal” reform of the Lords and claims the remaining hereditaries — almost all of whom are Tories — play an “important role” in the upper house."

I take the view that the House of Lords as currently constituted is doing its job of scrutinising legislation rather well - often far better than the Commons in fact - and am unconvinced of the case for further meddling, as has been Labour's wont. Its record on the Lords is one of political opportunism rather than principle and Dominic Grieve is right to be resisting this latest wheeze.

Jonathan Isaby

P.S. The Sunday Times appear to think that the election has already taken place and that there has been achnage of government:

"But opposition politicians accused the Conservatives of seeking to protect the wealthy and privileged and claimed the decision showed the party was not serious about modernising parliament."


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