Lords Reform: The facts won’t go away

Lord Tyler

Naturally I cannot share the glee of fellow contributors to this blog that the Coalition’s Lords Reform plans have been dropped, after neither Labour nor the Conservatives were able to sow sufficient unity among their MPs to implement clear manifesto commitments shared by all three parties.  I have been involved in the campaign for reform all my political life, and particularly while Shadow Leader of the House of Commons from 1997-2005.  I have long been a supporter of David Steel’s Bill, but always as a down-payment on progress towards democratic elections.  It is not an alternative, and David has never suggested it could be.

Let’s get back to the facts:

Fact 1:  elections to the Lords has been a Conservative policy since their 2001 Election Manifesto

Fact 2:  February 2003: David Cameron and George Osborne were among the prominent Conservatives who voted for 80% to be elected

Fact 3:  all the main features of the present Government Bill were foreshadowed in Jack Straw’s White Paper, supported by a cross-party group, in July 2008

Fact 4:  all three major parties promised the country democratic reform of the Lords in their May 2010 Election manifestos

Fact 5:  both parties to the Coalition Agreement of 2010 naturally then included this commitment, with no dissent

Fact 6:  in their 2011 White Paper David Cameron and Nick Clegg both stated: “We are both strongly persuaded that this is a unique opportunity for our country to instil greater democracy into our institutions and are fully committed to holding the first elections to the reformed House of Lords in 2015.”

Fact 7:  the Joint Committee of MPs and Peers voted by 13 to 9 (9 MPs to 1 MP) to recommend that “the reformed second chamber of the legislature should have an elected mandate”      

Fact 8:  the Coalition Cabinet unanimously supported their Bill at their meeting on 26 June.

Fact 9:  MPs gave the Bill its Second Reading on 10 July 2012 by 462 to 124 votes, an overwhelming majority and a majority in each of the three main parties

Fact 10: opinion polls consistently show substantial majority support for the reforms outlined in the Government’s BIll, with complete abolition the next favoured option and maintaining the current fully appointed House firmly last  

So much for the facts:  now here’s a comment.  The demise of the Coalition Bill does not alter the situation.   All three parties promised reform in their manifestos.  Its provisions were not “a nonsense”, or “ill-considered”  and did not deserve such epithets.  The Bill had been very carefully worked out, across the parties over more than a decade, following a century of debate. 

Short-term tactics and self-interest may have won the day this week, but this issue will not go away.  Ignoring this, as some Peers of all parties and none seem desperate to do, merely encourages those abolitionists in their perception that Members of the Lords are self-absorbed, self-congratulatory and self-interested.

28 comments for “Lords Reform: The facts won’t go away

  1. JH
    08/08/2012 at 8:12 pm

    Lord Tyler: “I have long been a supporter of David Steel’s Bill, but always as a down-payment on progress towards democratic elections. It is not an alternative, and David has never suggested it could be.”

    But with a little tweaking, Lord Steel’s Bill could provide a sizeable amount of the democratic legitimacy which you seek, moderate the size of the House and not incur much of the principled opposition (for surely not all of it was unprincipled) to the shelved Bill – see http://journals.sas.ac.uk/amicus/issue/view/292/showToc

    Many of those opposed to the Bill said they were in favour of reform. You have the power (not least in advising Nick Clegg) and in, Lord Steel’s Bill, the opportunity to achieve something of your goal albeit through different means. Adopting and slightly adapting – or beefing up – the Steel Bill could give Nick Clegg a constitutional success rather than opting for incomplete reform and waiting (for another 100 years?) for radical, controversial and readily opposable reform.

  2. Rich
    08/08/2012 at 10:12 pm

    “All three parties promised reform in their manifestos.” Finally, someone making this argument I can actually pose a question to! The Conservatives promised in their manifesto to work to build a consensus on Lords Reform. Labour promised a referendum on a fully elected house. How can supporters of the bill keep arguing that those manifestos bind them to support a bill that would, without a referendum or consensus, establish a partly elected house?

    Incidentally, what good does it do to point out that Cameron and Osborne voted for the 80%-elected option? They, and something like two-thirds of all Tories, voted for the programme motion. What Cameron has done this week is acknowledge reality—there is no path to passage of the bill without Labour. It was Nick Clegg who failed to even try to work with Labour and who obstinately rejected a referendum, presumably because he is afraid his name is enough to sink it. Clegg could have, after actively involving Labour, decided to offer free votes on the basis that the Coalition agreement only committed the parties to bring forward proposals, and built an ad hoc, pro-reform coalition to pass the bill. He has handled everything exactly wrong and has no one to blame but himself. There was always going to be a Tory rebellion, and Labour’s instinct was always going to be to obstruct a government measure. Instead of working to minimize the rebellion and curb Labour’s instincts, Clegg angered the very Tory backbenchers he needed repeatedly, culminating in the Jeremy Hunt abstention. He also chose not to work with Labour, so if Lib Dems want there to be “consequences”, they should toss out Clegg rather than suddenly deciding they don’t actually think constituencies should be substantially equal. Otherwise it looks like Lib Dems are not willing to risk a cut in their share of the Commons without a more-or-less guaranteed position holding the balance of power in the Lords.

  3. Baroness Deech
    Baroness Deech
    08/08/2012 at 11:05 pm

    Well, no actually. There never was a consensus, not even in the manifestos. See my blog of 6 July “Misleading by Manifesto”. And the latest Bill proposals were never going to bring more democracy into being. Let’s all line up behind Lord Steel’s Bill, and include in it exclusive appointment to the Lords by statutory appointments commission. Mr. Clegg is holding out the prospect of stuffing more of his chosen appointees into an overcrowded House, which does not need any more political retirees.

    • MilesJSD
      09/08/2012 at 12:05 am

      We don’t yet have participatory democracy; not even the beginnings of participatory-democratisation;

      so we certainly do not need more of the concealed unsustainworthy oligarchy, posing as the ‘democracy we want more of’.

      The House
      and the Peerage, Establishment, and Academia)
      are already overstuffed with ‘expertise retirees’, anyway.

    • Gareth Howell
      09/08/2012 at 7:35 am

      include in it exclusive appointment to the Lords by statutory appointments commission. The problem with that is that an exclusive ethnic group, like the Welsh might take over and exercice prejudices of their own. There is a good deal of that in parliament already.

      Quite apart from that political neutrality is impossible from the appointments board.

      Mr. Clegg is holding out the prospect of stuffing more of his chosen appointees into an overcrowded House, which does not need any more political retirees.

      I don’t know how much research has been done in to the number of MPs who do elevate themselves (in many people’s opinion stoop to grab the dosh.

      The Baroness describes them as “political appointees”. That is not what they are.
      they are self nominated or nominated and seconded by a couple of party colleaguese or friends.

      The term “political appointees” is just a party political point, which the baroness is good at.

      Ask Lord Steel how he entered! Closing the door after the horse has bolted… in… eh!

      The crossbench is the fly in the ointment at the best of times, in deciding these things.

      • maude elwes
        09/08/2012 at 2:08 pm

        This Lords reform failure may be a blessing in disguise for our nation and the efforts to bring true democracy to its shores.

        The Tories, no matter how their documents or their manifesto, so called promises, vaguely lean toward, have reneged on the daal they made for coalition agreement. Lib Dems are not blameless as they were too gullible at the offset.

        However, they have a seriously great opportunity to change the voting pattern of this country with their grip on the boundary changes. Their incumbents mainly rely on local voters, which also assists the Labour candidate.

        This throws Milliband into a good position for future Prime Minister. Which,if all the Labour Party represents is to be believed, then that in and of itself, will lead to Lords reform.

        True, a Democracy should not be comfortable with the huge disparity we have in constituencies, however, they have been worse than present. When the shoe was on the other foot that is. So, worrying about fairness is not the main objective here. Fairness involves more than equal electoral districts. As this debacle shows.

        The main objective has to be bringing Democracy, in its true form, to Britain. The Tories are not likely to bend to that necessity as they have too much vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

        Presently the voting system and the registration process has not been made fairer and therefore these boundary changes will not square that round hole. AV was a sabotage, and we all know it. No matter the pretence we get as an argument against that notion. And my understanding is, the coallition presently is planning to bring in some kind of voting registration that discriminates against students, immigrants, tenants and young people. Now why is that? Which means the Tories are up to the old Ms Shirly Porter lark of gerrymandering.

        So, does it really matter if Clegg is being completely open about the deal made on entering the coalition? I don’t think so. The objective has to remain firmly on what is good for democracy and the people of this country.

    • Gareth Howell
      10/08/2012 at 12:08 pm

      Let’s all line up behind Lord Steel’s Bill, and include in it exclusive appointment to the Lords by statutory appointments commission. Mr. Clegg is holding out the prospect of stuffing more of his chosen appointees into an overcrowded House, which does not need any more political retirees.

      It will get more and more stuffed, as long as there is no legislation against stuffing, with respect to the noble Baroness.

  4. MilesJSD
    09/08/2012 at 12:46 am

    Fact O (for Overarching)(not 0):
    Both your knowledge and intentions are hopelessly obsolescent.

    You don’t even honour and proactivate the distinction between your prevailing divine-right-of-monarchy sinecurely concealed establishmentarian oligarchy, posing as a Racecourse “First-Past-The-Post” ‘democracy’

    (faites vos jeus – RIEN NE VA PLUS)

    and ‘participatory-democratisation’ and of neglected ‘citizenship education’ thereto.

    The essential for ‘government by the People’ (Democracy)
    is twofoldly
    Participation and Participativity;

    which in turn pre-requires Enablement of every level of the 63-million or so of British People
    to perform governance-thinking and communicating tasks ‘participatively’,
    both individually and in cooperative-problem-solving groups.
    Under this Overarching Shadow, your list of “Facts” adds up to 0 (NIL).

    Under any of your proposals, true democratisation still remains ‘nobbled’;

    and thereby even your benign-but-cunningly-sinecured-oligarchisations,
    like a runaway juggernaut
    passing even the Point-of-No-Return

    are continuing to waste both our Human lives and any possible Extra-terrestrial Emigration future we or our progeny may have,

    and indeed are thereby wasting this Living Earth Itself.

    Your facts add up to NIL.


  5. 09/08/2012 at 8:19 am

    I don’t believe for one minute that a new appointments commission would yield any better results – UNLESS – paradoxically enough- it itself was chosen by the party leaders (plus throw in choices from the crossbench convener, speaker, and lord speaker, maybe the select committee chairs, for good measure – and a couple more selected by lot, jury-style, would be nice, too ..) – oh, and that its ‘hearings’ were televised on parliament website, so we could see who wanted the seats … Then (and only then) would you have the semblance of an indirectly-elected house …

    But Lady Deech and certain others seem to come out in a rash whenever the very idea of election is uttered – why?? If she doesn’t even support the principle of election, then presumably she must be arguing for a kind of ‘great-and-good-brigade’, who are ‘above’ that kind of thing – the kind of position for which she is well-suited, by all accounts.

    But here’s the rub – this is precisely what makes so many members of the Lords come across as so self-absorbed, self-congratulatory and self-interested. And here’s paradox number two: that’s a description which no longer applies to the hereditary peers. You see, as quaint and curious a thing as their election into the house may be, it is at least some form of election – the very thing that so many ‘lifers’ seem to be setting their face against. Outside of their own self-congratulatory tendencies, it is absurd for the latter to argue that the removal of the former (and with it the removal of any ‘taint’ of election) would represent a step forward — but then, it would accord with their overall ‘worldview’, I guess …

    • Baroness Deech
      Baroness Deech
      09/08/2012 at 11:12 am

      I agree with Matt that many of the remaining hereditary peers are quite outstanding in their expertise and diligence. Maybe that is because they are voted in by their fellows, or maybe it is because they have been the subject of so much criticism in the past that they feel they must work extra hard to deserve, and be seen to deserve their position in the legislature. As do others. A statutory commission would be like the present non statutory House of Lords Appointments Commission, but it might be established in such a way that it was responsible for all selections, not just some. I am always encouraging the commentators on this blog to apply to it . . .

      • 09/08/2012 at 9:53 pm

        Lady Deech: Well that’s a pleasant meeting of minds, to some degree. Maybe you could add your measures to my ready-and-waiting ‘House Of Lords Sitting Membership Bill’ … I will let you take most of the credit for this all-round ‘face-saving’ move … :-))

        See: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201012/jtselect/jtdraftref/284/284iii04.htm

        • Baroness Deech
          Baroness Deech
          13/08/2012 at 11:27 am

          I have just printed this off and will study it. Delighted to see that a lordsblogger is actually coming out and joining in the parliamentary process.

        • Baroness Deech
          Baroness Deech
          15/08/2012 at 6:48 am

          Matt – I agree with much of your reform bill, save only that if implemented it would not allow for new blood in the House for a long time. That is because your scheme keeps the pre-existing share of seats for each party and fills vacancies from peers who had been ousted. But it is certainly along the right lines, in my view, and it is a shame that there is no coalition support, at the moment, for the excellent Steel Bill, which could address such issues. The Steel Bill may well progress with cross party support, or so I hope.

          • 15/08/2012 at 2:27 pm

            Lady Deech – Thank you for taking some time thinking such things through – Although there is a ‘fault line’ in your particular criticism – in that it is precisely the excess of ‘new blood’ (lets stick with this parliament/ government for now) which has contributed to over-crowding. So maybe could agree an amendment to the effect of limiting the total tenure-time of any one person in the house, something like that?? You will have read that I did not address all those side-issues like retirement ages, criminal bars, strengthened leaves of absences, minimum attendance requirements etc – But if you think any would be useful, by all means add them to the mix …

            In any case, what is the average rate of death in a year in the Lords? Around twelve to fourteen? That’s 60 over a five-year parliament (?) How does that compare with the number of seats which may ‘change hands’ in the Commons at election time, I wonder?? Don’t know the answer – just thinking aloud, here.

            I also note that Lord Steel has hinted in letters to newspapers that he would support some form of ‘secondary mandate’ – Now would seem to be a good time for him to flesh out the details with that.

          • 15/08/2012 at 2:33 pm

            Also to Lady Deech – One other little but important thing I must pick you up on .. Vacancies would not necessarily be filled by peers who had been ‘ousted’, but also by ‘new creations’ … It is a filtering system for the ‘winning’ of a seat; and has nothing to do with matters around peerage-creations per se (a related, but separate matter).

          • 16/08/2012 at 5:42 pm

            … Further exploring the idea of ‘fresh-bloods’, I have glanced through google and parliament websites, and totted up the following:

            – From the by-election system for hereditaries ( with appears to have started in 2003 (?)), 15 people have entered the house that way.

            – It needs to be borne in mind here that my proposals allow for a greater number of life-peer seats, so we would be dealing with larger numbers, were the same mechanism to be applied to them …

            – The important thing is this: Taking those 15 ‘new’ hereditaries as a rough model, if we define ‘fresh-bloods’ as those who had previously sat in the house for two years or less, then the ratio is: RETURNING-‘OUSTEDS’= 8; FRESH-BLOODS = 7. So that suggests about a 50-50 split. Furthermore, of those 7 Fresh-bloods, 4 attained their peerages after the 1999 cull in seats. So, Lord De Mauley: 2002, had to wait until 2005 to win seat; Lord Aberdare ~ 2005, waited until 2009; Viscount Younger of Leckie ~ 2003, waited until 2010; Viscount Colville of Culross ~ 2010, waited until 2011. That’s an average wait of 3.75 years, between them. Another two (Viscount Eccles and Earl Cathcart) attained their peerages in 1999, which presumably meant they had a brief ‘sit’ in the house, but then had to wait for 6 years and 8 years respectively, before sitting again. There seems to me to be no good reason why those people who are granted life peerages, then, shouldn’t have to wait around a few years before entering the house – especially since, if their ‘merits’ really are something special for serving in parliament, the wait won’t be that long for them anyway, as they should be out-shining the competitors, at the first opportunity.

            Again, I leave aside any ‘side-measures’ which might further increase the frequency of by-elections, as something for other people to work out. A final thought: what is the average ‘wait’ for a candidate for (usually, several different) constituency-seats in the Commons, before they are elected?? I would guess it’s that much longer … So former MPs should have no quibble about having to compete for a place on the red benches …

          • JH
            16/08/2012 at 9:11 pm

            Baroness Deech: The proposal at the top of these comments (http://lordsoftheblog.net/2012/08/08/lords-reform-the-facts-wont-go-away/#comment-132005)- as Matt notes below a similar line of thought to his – would easily allow for new blood through limited appointments mid-term (a la Roseberry) and through the size-moderating-and-democracy-injecting element further allow for freshening every term.

            Best of luck with the Steel Bill but a Steel+ (such as the above) could meet more aims.

  6. Dave H
    09/08/2012 at 11:00 am

    My opinion of the proposals is that they would benefit the existing political parties and the Commons but not do much for the country as a whole. As such, I’m glad they’ve been kicked into touch, there are far more important things that should be done first.

    I agree with Baroness Deech that there should be limits on the number of ex-MPs in the Lords.

  7. sophieduschl
    09/08/2012 at 11:07 am

    I absolutely agree with Baroness Deech’s comment on ‘fact 4’. Let me add a few more comments: IF there was agreement over House of Lords reform, then it was between those on the front benches of the three parties. I am always surprised how people can really speak of consensus. I think Nick Clegg and his colleagues overuse the term, which is absolutely inappropriate. The whole idea of House of Lords Reform is about majority government and not consensus. I think that is something politicians should be much clearer about. It is completely implausible to use the term, it is simply populist. In a Westminster Democracy majority government is the norm, but there seems to be a feeling that if it comes to the core of the constitution, mainly whipped majorities are not sufficient. I think that is not a bad feeling, but therefore to disguise mere Government decisions in a ‘consensus coat’ is even more wrong. Facts 7 and 9 do not convince me either:
    ‘Fact 7’:
    The agreement with an electoral mandate is different from the agreement with the specific reform proposals. If you consider that two MPs who voted for the electoral mandate became signatories to the Alternative Report, the numbers change and you arrive at 11:11. That is no majority for the Government’s – or shall I say Clegg’s? – Bill. Therefore, I don’t believe that fact 7 is in any way a good argument. I think it rather shows that the problem is that House of Lords reform needs to be thought through much more before steps are undertaken, that real consensus needs to be formed. The Joint Committee was from the beginning on limited to the draft Bill and White Paper, any agreement in there has to be considered in that context.
    ‘Fact 9’:
    Many giving the Bill their yes-vote in Second Reading did so under the condition that the Bill still needed a lot of improvement. It was strongly whipped and it was not an easy passage at that stage. And to be honest – I really don’t want to know how many politicians giving it a yes-vote just did not care.
    And last but not least Fact 10:
    I can imagine my comment is controversial, but my feeling is that the reason why an appointed House of Lords gets so little public support is because 1) people have no clue about how the House works and to them ‘elections’ simply sound right 2) people don’t really know the complexities behind each of the systems 3) people do not care. I’m not saying House of Lords reform is not important – on the contrary, I think it is incredibly important, but to use public opinion (it is not opinion, it is public feeling) as a real argument in this case is not wrong but not very convincing either. My personal experience was, whenever I told people about the problems those dealing with House of Lords reform were facing (i.e. the trade – off between election and independence, independence and accountability etc.) they were surprised and no more so strongly convinced that elections were the only way forward.
    My final comment:
    I agree with you, short-term tactics and self-interest should not determine reform talks, but time pressures should not either. It was wrong to not give the Bill more time, it was wrong that the Committee was limited to the draft Bill and White Paper, it was wrong that Cameron did not communicate with his party better before he made such strong commitments and probably mislead the Liberal Democrats. It is not right that he picks and chooses from the Coalition Agreement, but he was forced to do so, because he failed to think everything through before.
    Oh and before I forget it: The whole issue will not go away before the hypocrisy of criticising the current House of Lords and ever appointing more peers is not put to an end!

  8. 09/08/2012 at 9:59 pm

    PS – I should also acknowledge that JH’s link (article) was pursuing a similar line of thought …

  9. Nazma FOURRE
    09/08/2012 at 11:16 pm

    Dear Lord Tyler,
    Men are the reflections of their deeds and the image of their reflections lie in their concrete actions .By this analogy, dear Lord, I am sure that the blessings of the Lords , stems of the Monarchy will never end as they have always through their destiny construed their noble, and intelligent image.No commoner from the House of commons could have the priviledge to put their reputation into mud for thirst of a monopolisation of concentrated power as you are unique, framed by a sound reputation of your good will to ammend the House of Lords.
    I am sure somewhere her Majesty awards you and pay tribute to your devoted job as well as your gifed talent in the House of Lords.

    However, I am deemed to think that the failure of the reform of an elected body of Lords , no matter from which political party it comes ,is renewing the fresh image of the House of Lords . By this, it shows that Lords are strong and cannot be manipulated by Manifestos of the Commoners.
    God bless the United Kingdom. God save the Queen and the Lords.
    Nazma FOURRE

  10. Nazma FOURRE
    10/08/2012 at 10:56 pm

    Dear Lord Tyler
    I wish my lord will excuse my timewritten mistakes in my last message which should be read as follows”I am sure that her Majesty awards and pays tribute to your gifted talent”.

    I seize the opportunity to ask you my lord to suggest the reintegration of some hereditary peers in the next ammendment so that there is an equal ratio of lords and commoners in Parliament.
    I shall also ask my lord to propose a bill to allow unpredictable future lords from the European communities, to join the House of Lords .
    I hope that my lord, will find this proposal useful and will do the needful.
    Thanking youbefore hand my Lord. Please don’t change.
    God bless the United Kingdom. God save the Queen and the Lords.
    Nazma FOURRE

  11. Senex
    13/08/2012 at 3:31 pm

    Governments publish their intentions in whitepapers all of the time. The contents are purely academic until realised in a bill. So why did nobody speak up beforehand about their reservations? They did, but not in any focused way because the whitepaper had no online forum or blog in which views could be exchanged and even then would government have listened especially if a manifesto pledge was involved.

    Regardless of common sense they would simple have gone ahead anyway.

    The issue of common sense has played out here. The bill presented may have been ‘practical’ but it fell short on perceived safety. So was it academic after all?

    This blogs template for an indirectly elected house is not without its own safety concerns because it could operate against the Privy Council in the long run. There are at the moment two systems at work that are highly representative of civic society: one is the Privy Council with 500+ members and the other is the House of Lords with 800+ members each serving their own purpose.

    If the number of electoral domains was set at 18 the cycle would be 24 years.


    Now here’s the problem: at some time after the year 2043 a new regent would have a choice. To appoint new Privy Council members in the established way or instead to take the council of peers sitting in the house; perhaps both? The problem for the monarchy is that the longer a king lives the more Privy Councillors it collects. Then there would be the issue of the quality and legitimacy of council. Elected peers against life appointed Privy Councillors. Would the secretive Privy Council operate an agenda against the creation of such a house because it covets its own exclusive access to the crown? These are the politics of the Crown and Parliament itself.

    This is why under Lord Faulkner’s post, Aug 05 2012, Lord Steel’s bill is of concern. It’s all very well trying to address the issues of the house now but those remedies should not remove the few remaining liberties that the monarchy has by taking the short term view.

    Perhaps after 2043 the ermine worn at the state opening of Parliament by the king would be plain in the manner of the barons to acknowledge that all are equal in the house of peers?

  12. Senex
    14/08/2012 at 4:37 pm

    An exchange on July 10 revealed some statistics:

    “Mr William Cash (Stone) (Con): On the question of election, would the Leader of the House be good enough to explain how it can possibly be justified that the Lords in question should be elected for 15 years?

    Sir George Young: The average length of service now is 24 or 26 years, so the proposal is an improvement.” Hansard, Column 192. July 10, 2012

    Bit of a mystery here? A House of Lords Statistics Note published six days earlier gives the median of conservative peers as 14.9 years so here is the answer to the question posed. Sir George however uses the word ‘average’ in his reply. When the data is distributed evenly both the mean and the median coincide so the use of the mean is reliable.

    However, Feargal McGuinness has chosen to use the median which is an indication that the data is skewed. So is this a case of lies, damned lies, and statistics?

    The table is very revealing: for the house as a whole the median length of service is 12.5 years with the bishop’s median set at 3.2 years. In the blogs design of an indirectly elected house the religious have their own electoral domain. One would hope that this would lift the median value to something respectable.

    Ref: Statistics for the Terrified.
    House of Lords Statistics July 4, 2010; Table 5 Page 4

  13. Gareth Howell
    16/08/2012 at 2:42 pm

    In any case, what is the average rate of death in a year in the Lords? Around twelve to fourteen? That’s 60 over a five-year parliament (?) How does that compare with the number of seats which may ‘change hands’ in the Commons at election time, I wonder?? Don’t know the answer – just thinking aloud, here.

    I don’t know whether Matt has thought yet, but this varies a good deal. In 2001+ 2005 it was quite low but in 1997+2010, many were retiring and quite a few lost. In 1997 the turnover was huge ‘cos it went from a Major majority of about 40 to a Blair majority of http://www.election.demon.co.uk/

    it looks like a clear majority of 120, which increased only slightly to 160 in 2001.

    There were few changes in 2001


    Senex’s remarks about the Privy council are most interesting, as they nearly always are
    (about constitutional matters!).

    The creation of the Privy Council surely predated the House of lords by quite a good bit, but being a member of it today, has very little meaning in real terms.

    It’s all very well trying to address the issues of the house now but those remedies should not remove the few remaining liberties that the monarchy has by taking the short term view.

    Why not?


    Privy Council is the mechanism through which interdepartmental agreement is reached on those items of Government business which, for historical or other reasons, fall to Ministers as Privy Counsellors rather than as Departmental Ministers

    Nick Clegg was appointed Lord President of the Council in May 2010.

    Stripping the powers in the same way from each privy councillor as minister would be no more difficult than stripping the powers from the
    Lord Chancellor in the Law lords 5 or 6 years ago.

    Lord Falconer did not find that particularly onerous, while he was in that office.

  14. Gareth Howell
    22/08/2012 at 3:40 pm

    Above it was just about 200 changes in the HofC in 1997.

    Shedding of the Federal states of Australia from the power of the privy council would be one way of reducing the strength of the house of Lords.

    The present is a very good time to do it, since there is so little going on in either chamber.

    One gifted person intent on becoming a first President of an independent Federal Republic of Australia,
    without referendum, would change the map completely.

    But who can that one gifted person be?

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