Baroness Deech

The move to reform the House of Lords by replacing appointed members with elected ones is driven by the premise that it will be more democratic and accountable.  But according to the Bill published this week, it is intended to provide expressly that the Lords will be inferior to the Commons in that if the Commons wants to have their way, and the elected Lords resist, the Commons will prevail.  This is to be achieved by continuing the relevant provisions of the Parliament Act 1911 in the new regime.  There are two problems with this.  One is that it is wholly unconstitutional to plan to drive through reform of the Lords by using the Parliament Acts and at the same time to replicate the constraints of those Acts in the new law; the other is that the public will be cheated of the promised democracy. 

The preamble to the Parliament Act 1911 stated that it was being passed as a temporary measure until such time as the Lords became an elected chamber.  So the Parliament Act-enshrined supremacy of the Commons was meant only to be in existence as long as the Lords were appointed, and to come to an end once they were elected.  There is also a strong case in law for saying that the Parliament Acts cannot be used to force through a complete change in the Lords, especially one whereby they will in future have the same attitude towards general elections as do the MPs.  (The Commons cannot under those Acts delay an election without the Lords’ consent, which was always considered not to be forthcoming without exceptionally good reasons.)

Secondly, if the public are being told that they can elect their Lords, who will represent their interests and be accountable to them, why should the Lords not then have as much say in the legislative process as the Commons? It is a deception to sell this reform on the basis of the democratic principle, and then subvert it.  The end result, if the Bill were to work as the government currently intend, would be a Commons even more uncheckable than now, and both sets of legislators under the thumb of the elective dictatorship, (Lord Hailsham’s phrase to describe how the government always gets its way because it can whip MPs into submission.) Under current procedures, the Lords eventually do give way to the will of the Commons, after some delay, because they are unelected.  This will no longer be the scenario.

Never has so much damage been inflicted on the constitution by a party with so small a share of the popular vote.

20 comments for “LibUndems

  1. Nazma FOURRE
    29/06/2012 at 11:12 pm

    Dear Baroness,
    I shall advise the lords to fight for their only and sole right to be appointed and not to be elected like members of Parliament. An elected statuory body of lords will be a room for the reduction of their numbers which have been drastically decreased since the late reform act of 1999 regarding the hereditary peers who have lost their rights to sit and vote in the house of the lords as only a compromise number of 92 are present in the House of lords today.
    All the lords should stand together, forward petitions to the government and her Majesty so that the lords as such should be appointed and not elected.
    Reforms by the way should be made to modify the reforms acts of 1999.
    1. The hereditary peers should be integrated anew in the House of Lords for democratical reasons in order to have more members to vote laws. Without the increase of life and hereditary peers in the house of Lords, there is no “win win situation” as the House of commons has more members and so more power to approve or disapprove bills.
    2. Life peers should be appointed not only from common wealth countries but also from European communities.The selective consideration for choosing life peers from common wealth countries does seem outdated.
    I am sure that her Majesty will not let the lords power fail in the House of Lords.
    God bless the United Kingdom. God bless the QUEEN.
    Nazma FOURRE

  2. Christopher
    30/06/2012 at 1:14 am

    I don’t support an elected Lords. The Lords has an important role protecting the rights of the citizen. But I think it’s unfair to say that the Lib Dems are undemocratic for voting for something that every major political party told the voters it was in favour of. I also don’t understand why its offensive to have elected representatives with different roles. Welsh MPs and AMs are both elected by the same constituencies, but they have different powers, don’t they?

  3. Gareth Howell
    30/06/2012 at 6:18 am

    Reducing the numbers would itself be a reform.
    They will probably end up paying redundancy money to those who choose to pack up and go.

  4. CS
    30/06/2012 at 8:21 am

    It is a shame you felt the need to sneak in a petty party-political attack.

    But why is an inferior house an undemocratic one? Australian parliaments (federal and most states) use this model, and no-one argues that is undemocratic. It generally works well, with proportional representation meaning that minor parties can influence the upper house without completely obstructing the activities of the government in the lower house.

    It may not be the best model, but what is? Surely you need some way of breaking a deadlock between houses?

  5. MilesJSD
    30/06/2012 at 8:31 am

    Another major sub-surface malfeasance-imminence here is that

    even if the Judges could rule against the ‘rushing-through’ of this Lords-abilities-&-governance-powers-curtailment Bill

    they won’t

    because the whole of the UK’s middle, upper, goiverning and judiciary classes, totalling almost tens of millions, are stuck in high-incomes and assets and ‘privacy rights & protections’ and in ‘unholistic’ very-low-effort luxury-lifestyles and ‘iron-rice-bowl’ workplaces

    among which the Judiciary is one of the highest paid

    so they are not going to vote to become more sustainworthy

    nor to become more egalitarianly democratic.

  6. Sharon
    30/06/2012 at 10:56 am

    Don’t worry, we already know that anything the current government does is only to benefit themselves. The question is, how can we, as normal people, stop them when they are determined to do something? They push it through regardless.

  7. Lord Blagger
    30/06/2012 at 1:26 pm

    Unelected you are the affront to democracy.

    The new lords is the same because it includes appointed members.

    Both are damaging.

    Remember, because the electorate have had no say, they are not responsible for the mess. You are.

  8. Lord Soley
    Lord Soley
    01/07/2012 at 10:36 pm

    Well argued Barness Deech. If we are to be given the power to legislate then we should be elected. If we continue to be denied that power but have to be elected then we shall demand the ability to legislate and the electorate would expect it.

    • MilesJSD
      02/07/2012 at 8:50 am

      But the Electorate do not have sufficient people’s-democracy governance-skills to be able to best-select the House of Work-Experts & Life-Experience (House of Lords);

      nor is there any written and operational Constitutional and Legislative Requirement for the Electorate (Every-Level-of-The-People) to be kept governancially-informed, trained, and educated,
      to enable them to rightly-exercise their democratically ultimate-executive power of Electing The Upper House

  9. Lord Blagger
    02/07/2012 at 7:53 am

    Well argued Barness Deech. If we are to be given the power to legislate then we should be elected.


    So look at the Steele bill. That shows the Lords have the power to legislate. It’s not come from the Commons.

    1. Why are you claiming that you don’t have the power?

    2. Are you going to vote against the bill because you aren’t elected?

  10. maude elwes
    02/07/2012 at 12:40 pm

    My views as always, are, remove the hereditary’s, get rid of ineffective and unelectable politicians, clear out the criminals, refuse to keep those who are there only for a daily stipend and those who don’t speak or vote. Finnish off by making sure all political views are taken in according to their percentage of public thinking. That way you are on the way up. And I feel the Lords should have a little more power, as those in the Commons are unfit for purpose, as we see and hear daily in the media. Too much self interest. All you have to do to be aware of that is, look at the banking fiasco. Blair and his crew made it easy for them and were largely in with it. On the old payola that’s why. Mind you, this lot are just as heavily culpable.

    Steele should be applauded for his excellent efforts to make this island, what it claims it already is, a democracy.

    PS: The Blair is telling us daily he plans to return to office in a powerful way! LOL He must be funded by US Republicans to keep Labour out of power at the next election. £20M last year for him. Labour cannot believe this is good for Milliband and Co. The kiss of death I’d call it. And as he was in there with Cameron, so they tell us, then, you have to know he’s being used to stoke the downfall for a Labour win.

    Should have locked him up for war crimes.

  11. Nazma FOURRE
    02/07/2012 at 6:52 pm

    Dear Baroness
    Everyone who loves the Queen as much as I do,with every beat of my heart and every single breath of my soul, will agree with the tradition of the British Monarchy namely of the vested interest of the “Beloved QUEEN” in the House of Lords.To honour her memory, I shall suggest the reintegration of hereditary peers who have been peers from decades and whose titles are passed from one generation to another.Those hereditary peers who are descendants of the British Monarchy have been through their traditional history give vent to the House of Lords.I don’t feel why should they not be given the rights to sit in the House of Lords anew.However any low criticisms regarding their contested presence by one native would not be a barrier for their reintegration.
    I do strongly feel that the composition of both hereditary and life peers would meet the equal proportionality ratio required to debate with the 699 Members of parliament in the House of commons. At that stage, for democratical voting reasons, the increase in the numbers of lords in the house of Lords is a must.
    God bless the United Kingdom. God save the QUEEN.
    Nazma FOURRE

    • MilesJSD
      03/07/2012 at 8:16 am

      Nazma F implies that
      “Everyone loves the Queen as much as Nazma does”.

      But consider:
      Not everyone loves the costs of the Queen:-

      “Love the sinner – hate the sin”
      is one of the ‘British’ (Christian) traditional morals-practices, that the Monarch has to promote and defend.

      When comes “Defender of Faiths”
      into HM’s duty-&-job-parameter sheet ?

      including thereby not only those other ‘Faiths’ that also practice “Love the sinner, hate the sin” ?

    • maude elwes
      03/07/2012 at 10:15 am

      Some department of the royal household has to be paying for this.

      Unless, as I suspect, it is a phoney irritant.

      • MilesJSD
        03/07/2012 at 4:03 pm

        “Paying for …”

        the Paying is done by real workers in Productive, Defensive, and Conservational workplaces;

        and quite a good bit is also done by sustainworthy and personally-efficient people in low-paid and even disadvantaged lifeplaces.

        “Some department… (e.g. of the royal household)”
        merely acts as The Dealer in a kind of elaborate ‘Card-Game’;
        using Tokens (banknotes, bonds, share-certificates, property-deeds, ‘personal-services-rendered’)
        in place of all that Real-Work and Real-Living Real-Payment being done by Workers and Citizens
        many of both of whom by the way are de facto both ‘foreign’ and ‘non-British’,
        possibly a goodly ‘some’ also are at heart and by governance-commitment long-term ‘anti-British’ but who, by reason of Global-Economic-Ascendancy, are constrained to be producing goods for us others, and our royal departments, from within the slavery of Sweatshops.
        Just one simple instance of where ‘British-sustainworthiness’ has to be the Requisite Principle and Morally-Practical-Philosophy::

        “the Queen’s English” has a whole lot of cleaning-up and self-improvement to undergo, and a long historical way to serve and strive, before it can become a truly constructive and human-race-developing World-Language.

        And at least one royal department needs to make The Queen a Defender-of-All-Faiths within this British Commonwealth of Nations (Note please: Defender ”… of Nations [of Peoples];
        not “… of Nation-States [i.e. exclusively of Governments, Privilegocratic-Establishments, Constitutional-Lawyers, and ‘iron-rice-bowled’ Civil-Servants ].

        Yes, ‘something’ and ‘some-body’ has to be paying for these “phoney irritants”;

        but longstandingly that is being The Earth’s Lifesupports
        in real-existentiality
        being wantonly extincted and irreversibly destroyed.

        What Maude (and a.n.other including the noble baroness) is saying needs wider and deeper contextual Perspective.

  12. Nazma FOURRE
    03/07/2012 at 11:50 am

    Dear Baroness
    The crown makes the Queen and the Queen makes her crown.This saying about crown and Queen is a good example to distinguish the Monarch from the common people.Such costs as MSLD seems to point out are high, but the Monarch has its own capital to meet the expenses of the Queen , since Britain is no longer a monarchical state and the Queen only reigns but no longer rules.
    I think that some reluctant tax payers who want to be exonerated from taxes are deemed to point out that some of the expenses of the Monarchical state are being funded by taxes.One of the fundamental principles of any society is to pay for the services being rendered and no one can run away from taxes.
    It is quite unfair to put the “Beloved Queen” in the middle of any private personal expenses.The Queen is not responsible for any personal financial problem of any British citizen.
    I think that the “Beloved Queen” needs tribute as she is still opening the session of parliament and giving her Royal assent for any bill to be passed. For her services to the nation , I do agree that she is deemed to be remunerated.
    I do not think that one should love the sinner and hates the sin as love and sins are two opposite virtues.Love is one of the moral values of humanity and sin is an immoral one.I do not consider the Monarchy of being a sinner as she committed no sins. It is not a sin to wear the crown and to meet the expenses of such a blessed traditional issue.However it is a sin not to pay taxes and finding all kind of excuses not to do so, makes the sin, his own sinner.
    God bless the United kingdom.God saves the Queen.
    Nazma FOURRE

  13. Nazma FOURRE
    03/07/2012 at 11:30 pm

    Dear Baroness,
    “Be it enacted that lords should remain appointed in order to carry out the trend of the monarchical values of the House of Lords.
    “Be it enacted that lords are not politicians and politicians are not lords.”
    “Be it enacted that an elected body of lords opens into an ever ending competition between the two houses in the casting ofthe highest number of votes rather than to concentrate on political issues through the passing of bills”.
    “Be it enacted that Lords should be Lords and not Lords-politicians”.
    By the way of facts stated, Lords should remain appointed.
    God bless the United Kingdom. God save the Queen.
    Nazma FOURRE

  14. Nazma FOURRE
    03/07/2012 at 11:47 pm


    Dear Baroness,
    The babbles of a respectful elderly “baby” with his ” bullied mother” in this chat room, regarding my previous comment is currently making me smile.I think you will agree with me dear Baronness that defending the interests of the Monarchy is the right of any living body who is devoted to the Queen.This right given to every human being cannot be contested in respect to the human rights convention .
    God bless the United Kingdom. God save the QUEEN.
    Nazma FOURRE

  15. 07/07/2012 at 3:20 pm

    Baroness Deech: I look forward to seeing you argue that the pre-1911 full veto powers should be restored. Maybe also the restoration of the second chamber’s judicial privileges, to counter-balance the lower house’s financial privileges …

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