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Tory peers make the case against Lords reform

By Tim Montgomerie

In the House of Lords on Monday a number of Tory peers made short speeches opposing Lords reform. Here are a few edited contributions:

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean: "The Deputy Prime Minister is very fond of telling people that he wants to "repair our broken politics" and that we need reform. I say to those in the House of Commons that they should first put their own House in order, for that is the bit of the system that is broken, and leave this place alone. How many people in this Chamber would stand for election? I suspect very few. What sort of people would stand for election, including me? They will be the B team; they will be the people who could not get elected to the House of Commons, or felt that they were not able to. All the expertise and knowledge which come to this House, and the experience of people who have had careers and done other things-all the things that people complain about a lack of in the House of Commons-would be lost. This Chamber works. Leave it alone. It is not broken."

Baroness Noakes: "We must not undermine the primacy of the House of Commons. As has been said today, it is inevitable that an elected upper Chamber will robustly challenge the conventions that preserve the current balance between the two Houses. We must ask ourselves whether it is more or less likely that another House of elected politicians, jostling for position with another place and stripped of the experience and expertise that we currently have, will achieve what we have achieved in the past. Will that serve the public interest? I think the answer to that is clear."

Lord Higgins: "I think that we are all very clear what the purposes of this Chamber are: first, to act as a revising Chamber with regard to legislation, which was tremendously important in the last Parliament because the House of Commons had virtually ceased to legislate and programmed everything; and, secondly, to hold the Government to account. That was, again, demonstrated very clearly in the previous Parliament, when the Government were more preoccupied with passing Acts on terrorism and so on than with human rights, liberty and so forth."


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