On the afternoon of 10th December 243 sixth formers from various schools debated the future of the House of Lords, in the Chamber of the House of Lords. The case was put for four alternatives – abolition, election, appointment and combination. Most students wanted to speak and the level of interest and debate was extremely good.
After two hours the House voted and there was a clear majority for an appointed, or largely appointed House.
This exactly reflects the views of students at two schools I recently visited as part of the Outreach Programme. Students at Colchester Sixth Form College and the Greensward Academy in Essex felt that we didn’t need a second chamber which mimicked the Commons and a carefully appointed chamber would be more effective in keeping an eye on the government and the elected politicians.
The coalition agreement speaks of a largely elected House and we are promised proposals in the spring. I wonder if the pretty consistent views of these young people will have an impact on the government’s proposals?
Incidentally at all of these meetings, anger over the increase in university fees simmered. Could constitutional reform be their next concern?