POLL: Should the House of Lords be abolished?
Labour would aim to abolish the House of Lords says Starmer
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Labour published a sprawling report on Monday promising major constitutional change, including the abolition of the House of Lords, with Sir Keir Starmer saying his party would install the “biggest ever transfer of power from Westminster to the British people” if elected. But do you think this is the right move? Vote in our poll.
Speaking at a joint press conference with the report’s author, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Sir Keir said he had “long been convinced that this broken model has held back our politics and held back our economy.” He said he was “determined we unbind ourselves and free our potential”.
During press rounds on Monday, the prime minister hopeful said that plans for a constitutional overhaul would free up some £200million a year and transform Britain’s economy.
He told the BBC that the House of Lords – British Parliament’s unelected second chamber – was “indefensible” and that Labour would replace it with an elected body “with a strong mission”.
He said: “I profoundly think that the fact we hold too much power in Whitehall is holding us back, not only politically – with people feeling more distant form politics – but economically”.
“Amongst the reasons we have failed to grow our economy in the last 12 years is we’re not allowing every part of the UK to play its part economically.”
The report, titled A New Britain, proposed sweeping changes for handing economic powers to England’s mayors, local authorities and devolved governments.
A specific timeframe was not set out, but Sir Keir said it would be actioned “as quickly as possible” should the party come to power.
The House of Lords – which shares the task of making and shaping British laws with the House of Commons – has come under renewed scrutiny in recent months, with critics warning that the size of the unelected body is excessive.
Currently, there are some 800 members of the Lords, most of whom are life peers. Most do not receive a salary for their work, but are “eligible to receive allowances and, within certain limits, the travel expenses they incur in fulfilling their parliamentary duties”. Optional attendance allowances reach up to £323 per day.
Tory peer Lord Norton has urged caution over the proposed Labour reforms.
He told Times Radio: “One has to be wary of some Big Bang reform, grand reform, which often takes the form of displacement activity – the nation’s got problems, people must come up with constitutional reform because it’s a fairly simple, straightforward proposal, rather than actually getting down to the real issues.”
But what do you think? Should the House of Lords be scrapped? Vote in our poll and join the debate in the comments below.
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