Guest Blog: Joe Skelton: Why we still need Lord’s Reform.

Those who make the laws should be elected by those that have to abide by the laws.

Those who make the laws should be elected by those that have to abide by the laws.

My name is Joe Skelton. I am a student at Manchester Grammar school and I am doing work experience with John Leech.

One of my projects was to create a blog on a topic that I feel strongly about. I have written on Lord’s Reform, as I feel it is an issue which has been overlooked for too long, as parties continue to play politics with it and treat the issue opportunistically. I’m glad that in John Leech, I have an MP who agrees with me on the need for Lords reform.

Nothing has happened on Lord reform in the past 12 month, since this happened.

in the 21st century it is outrageous that unelected toffs continue to have a say in running the country. With the Tories continuing to drag their feet on the issue, and, understandably, many suggesting the priority at present is the economy, the tricky issue of Lord’s Reform has been swept under the carpet, or, more specifically, the antique Persian rug.

Despite 7 in 10 voters supporting reform – far more than it is possible to find united on almost all other issues – a tiny minority of people remain who were born into office, or achieved it as a result of the preferment of a party leader. Although it is certainly the case that the economy ought to take centre stage at present, we should not allow this to placate us, or stop us pressing for further democratisation of our political system.

Let us not forget that in this parliamentary term, we have not only have worked tirelessly on the economy, we have pushed through gay marriage and helped press for greater equality. Hence, I simply do not buy the line that we cannot find any time to look again at Lord’s reform.

The lack of progress, however, is far from simply a case of the Tories having other priorities. This is to be expected. In fact, the Labour Party has behaved childishly in this area – as John blogged last July. Perhaps that too should be expected. Despite claiming publicly to support reform, when push has come to shove the Labour Party has deliberately, and damagingly, blocked reforms – citing no reasonable excuse – and seeking merely to throw a spanner in the works of the coalition government.
No-one would seek to deny that the House of Lords has been of use in years gone by, in scrutinising government legislation and in amending these bills.  No one would seek to deny that there are members of the Lords well worthy of respect. What is clear however is that this is no substitute for a democratically elected representative. Rather, it is a hangover from a DowtonAbbeyesque age, which, though seeming quaint to some, cannot be said to be fit for purpose.

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