The peer challenge

A reformed House of Lords must imply a new role in Parliament for local government leaders, says Michael Burton.

Among the long list of reforms Labour is planning should it win the next election, constitutional change is unlikely to be anywhere near the top of the list – and yet it might wish to reconsider.

The most immediate challenge is what to do with the House of Lords. This is not only because it has been grossly abused by a succession of Prime Ministers appointing new peers for political favours, or because it is the second-largest legislative chamber in the world, after the National People's Congress of China, or that it still has hereditary peers. The Lords also has a huge Conservative majority which cannot be helpful for a Labour Government with a heavy legislative programme. And to be fair to the noble peers they realise change is needed.

Michael Burton

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