Press Release: Small Lords reforms needed urgently,before new appointments
17 October 2013
Today sees publication of the Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee (PCRC) report on "House of Lords reform: what next?". Tomorrow the Commons debates a private member's bill on small steps to Lords reform. The urgency of reform is demonstrated by today's story in The Times newspaper that David Cameron plans to appoint a further 30 peers, just weeks after the last batch of appointment was announced in August.
Responding to these events, House of Lords expert Dr Meg Russell of the Constitution Unit has commented in a blog post that the proposals in the private member's bill, while welcome, do not go far enough and - as the PCRC suggests - the most urgent matter is agreement between the parties on a formula for new appointments. Without this, she suggests, "serious progress is unlikely to be made, meaning that the size of the chamber will continue to spiral upwards - making it both more expensive, and less effective".
Russell joins the PCRC in urging the party leaders to address this issue as soon as possible. She suggests that making any new appointments before such agreement is reached would be "inappropriate", and that demanding that agreement should precede new appointments "would certainly help concentrate the Prime Minister's mind".
Notes for editors
- The Constitution Unit is an independent and non-partisan research centre based in the Department of Political Science at University College London.
- Dr Meg Russell is Deputy Director of the Constitution Unit, and an established expert on the Lords and its reform. Her evidence to the PCRC inquiry was quoted in the committee's report 23 times.
- Dr Russell's blog post is here: http://constitution-unit.com/2013/10/17/lords-reform-next-steps-small-but-urgent/
- Dr Meg Russell is available for interview: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee's report is published today, and can be found here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmpolcon/251/251.pdf