Letter: After the Lords

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After the Lords

Sir: Ken Livingstone is right that there is no case for retaining the hereditary peerage ("The Prime Minister, patronage and Labour's flawed plans for the Lords", 17 June). There is even less of a case for retaining life peers under the system of Prime Minister's patronage. Nothing could be worse than allowing the government of the day to appoint, undemocratically, members of the second chamber from their own supporters. The country needs some democratic means of appointing members to this chamber.

One suggestion is that bodies such as professional organisations, trade unions, religions and universities should vote for their own representatives, to sit for a term of, say, five or seven years. By this means we would have a chamber not consisting of party politicians but of experts in a wide field of the country's life. Why do we need party politics in the second chamber?