I agree with Lord Soley, not only that there may be dangers in uninspected home education, but also that children miss out on many advantages if they do not spend their time in the company of other schoolchildren. Learning to mix, discipline, sport, drama, outings, various aspects of learning that are not available at home. I was reminded of this when I went to a good girls’ school a few days ago as part of the Lords’ outreach programme. This programme sends peers to all sorts of schools all over the country to speak to older pupils about the work of the House of Lords and give them the chance to think about politics and hear firsthand what we do. My presentation covered the history of the House, its composition, its expenditure, its future, the different types of work that it does, and drew attention to some peers of whom they would have heard, to illustrate my points about expertise and diversity.
The two most interesting questions they put to me afterwards were “Will a general election end the expenses scandal?” and “How can David Cameron be prevented from appointing 100 new peers to secure a Conservative majority in the Lords?” It will take more than a general election or even a change in the voting system to remove the taint. The second question was harder to answer. I had to explain the Royal Prerogative and how it would be almost impossible for the Queen to refuse a request by the Prime Minister to create large numbers of peers. Does anyone have a better answer?