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Hereditary peers have no place in Parliament

June 14, 2021 9:50 PM
By Bryan Lewis
Originally published by City of Wolverhampton Liberal Democrats

Back in 1999 the House of Lords was reorganised but not to be an elected chamber. Instead there are 92 hereditary peers, a couple of dozen 'Lords Spiritual and Temporal' (mainly C of E bishops) and filled up with any number of political appointments. It's a ridiculous composition but the fact that in 2021, hereditary aristocrats still have a place in our parliament is beyond baffling.

When a vacancy arises in the hereditary peers there's a by-election in which members from an official list of aristocrats are chosen by party groups of current hereditary peers. Several of these so-called by-elections have had turnouts of just three voters.

Six new peers will be 'elected' over the next month so a few aristocrats will decide who can sit in the House of Lords - voting on legislation for the rest of their lives, if they choose to do so.

It's high time to end this absurd practice. At the moment, a handful of aristocrats are picking who can vote on our laws and claim expenses for life, on the basis of birth-right. It ignores a simple principle: voters should decide who makes our laws.

Ending these absurd by-elections must be a first step towards ensuring we have real democracy here with a revising chamber that is fit for purpose and accountable to the public.