Dr Meg Russell on BBC Westminster hour discussing the unsustainable House of Lords appointments
28 July 2014
Dr Meg Russell was on the BBC Westminster Hour programme on Sunday 27 July discussing unsustainable House of Lords appointments and the need for regulation. Dr Russell explains the most urgent Lords reform is the need to regulate unsustainable level of PM's appointments. Listen to the show on BBC website.
Dr Meg Russell was also quoted in The Times (24/07/2014) on the row over appointment of new peers.
Meg Russell says "The size of the Lords grew by around 70 between 1999 and 2010 under Blair and Brown, and if 20 peers are indeed to be appointed, it will have grown by around 120 more under Cameron. This is plainly completely unsustainable, and there is an urgent need to regulate the prime minister's appointment power."
"The Lords is now a serious legislative institution, with a major impact on policy. Particularly given the growing size of the chamber, dissolution and resignation honours lists are outdated indulgences that we can no longer afford,"
"The current appointments system is completely unsustainable, and now urgently needs independent regulation, including a transparent formula for allocating seats between the parties and an agreed maximum size. That the prime minister continues to decide the size and party balance of one chamber of parliament is no longer defensible."
In her Westminster Hour interview Meg Russell expanded on these themes, stating:
"I think we really have to face up seriously now to the need to regulate prime ministerial appointments to the House of Lords. The House of Lords matters more to British politics than it has done for a long time... We have to introduce some kind of regulation system that first of all says what the maximum size of the chamber is (it's very unusual to have a parliament with no maximum size), and then we need an agreed formula for appointments so that there's some fair distribution of appointments between the parties, and the party leaders are told how many appointments they can have within the quota. I think we need to give that over to the House of Lords Appointments Commission or some other independent body that will, in an objective independent way, regulate the system."
A full transcript of the interview is available here
- Listen: BBC Westminster Hour: 27 July
- Row over honours for Tory donor and axed ministers (The Times: Paywall) 24 July 2014
- Reshuffle: The inside story of how Hague's ego trumped the dignity of the Lords (Politics.co.uk) 16 July 2014
- More information on Dr Meg Russell's book 'The Contemporary House of Lords: Westminster Bicameralism Revived'
- Information on the House of Lords research
- Working peerages announced: 2014