However, it is unlikely that the subsequent stages, namely consideration of the proposals by the Government, and a joint committee of the Lords and Commons on implementation, will be undertaken quite so speedily, and there remains genuine doubt as to whether reform will be anywhere near complete by the time of the next election. Indeed, there is a creeping suspicion that the Government might not wish to see such a distracting issue take centre stage at that time and that it is, in any case, shying from any of the real choices before it.
The judicial role of the Law Lords, the question of disestablishing the Church of England along with the bishops, the place of the new chamber in the broader devolution of the union - all these are missing from the commission's remit.
There is one word above all that cannot be forgotten when it comes to the new upper chamber: democracy. Politicians of all parties may place discreet pressure on the Royal Commission to produce a fudge - a fudge that reduces the power of the new House. The temptation to trim must be resisted by the commission. The new upper house should last for as long as the last one did. To do that it needs democratic legitimacy. It is a historic challenge.Reuse content