Is Cardiff’s ‘People’s Peer’ a reason against House of Lords reform?

March 30, 2010 1 Comment »
tanni grey thompson

Cardiff paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson has been made a 'People's Peer'

Cardiff’s Tanni Grey-Thompson has become a Baroness and took her place in the house of Lords today. She’s one of the most successful Paralympians we’ve ever had and is one of the few people in the Lords who has actually deserves their place.

However, this should not be an excuse to ‘skimp’ on House of Lords reform. Labour have dithered so much and failed to do anything about the House of Lords problem that the Conservatives must do something about it in their first term if elected in May. A recent poll carried out by Tory blogger Iain Dale found that 35 per cent wanted the chamber to be fully elected with 33 per cent wanting it to be partly elected. A huge 46 per cent wanted it sorted in the first term with 33 per cent thinking it should be in the second and 21 per cent not at all.

My view is that it needs reforming and the best way to do this is through a fully elected chamber through proportional representation. They don’t represent an area or have constituencies and therefore each party should devise a list of potential Lords in preferential order, which is then converted to seats at a General Election vote. My view is if one particular party got 35 per cent of the vote in the General Election then they should have 35 per cent of the seats in the Lords. The Lords should also be downsized to 300 seats maximum, reducing the cost of the chamber, yet big enough to avoid imbalances in debates. The Lords is there to make sure no absurd laws pass through the Commons and to close any possible loopholes, they’re not there to create laws so it would be best if they represented the country as a whole, through proportional representation rather than the House of Commons using PR.

What do you think? Is that fair? Do you have any suggestions or do you think we should keep a partly appointed House of Lords so we can have people like Tanni Grey-Thompson elected into there?

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