Letter: Lords reform crisis

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The Independent Culture
Sir: It is with great sadness that we see 10 hereditary peers receive life peerages and thus bypass the elections to remain in the interim House of Lords among the 92 "Weatherill peers".

Albeit that the new house is merely transitional, this initial concession prevented the complete sweeping away of the undemocratic and unaccountable element of hereditary entitlement. Now, to add insult to injury, the Government has in effect increased the number of peers excluded from the first stage of reform to 102.

We do not deny that certain individuals in the House of Lords have experience and expertise to contribute. But if this is the case, let them stand for election, whether it be election by the people, the only solution we can see that will restore respect to a fully reformed upper chamber, or election by their peers, the compromise that we have had to stomach for the interim house.

We must not let a government with such a track record of speedy constitutional reform let itself fall into a culture of patronage at this crucial stage.

Reform of the House of Lords has reached a potential turning point. This opportunity must be taken now before it is lost and relegated to the history books as the great reform that never was.

PAM GIDDY

Director

Charter88

London N1

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