Letter: Why peers must go

Sir: It would be a sad commentary on the state of politics in our country if one of the consequences of the rejection by the House of Lords of the "closed list" system for the European elections were for the Government to act like a spiteful teenager who has not got his/her way.

There may be good arguments for the reform of the upper chamber but they should not arise from an emotional response. Rather they should be based on a careful and, as far as possible, a non-partisan consideration of how a second chamber should be constituted for the twenty-first century.

As when the Lords rejected the lowering of the age of consent for homosexual practices, they were probably far more reflective of the interests of the majority of the population than would be a chamber filled with Mr Blair's cronies.

Nowadays I vote for the candidate whose overall values are the closest to my own, which will not necessarily be represented by a particular party manifesto. As a Christian I am interested in where a candidate stands on matters that may not figure highly in a manifesto, such as those related to the family, or Third World issues, and I want someone to represent me whom I can respect, even in their private life.

It is not for Mr Blair to effectively disenfranchise us by taking this right away. It is he, not the House of Lords, who is undermining democracy by his insistence on closed lists.

JOHN WAINWRIGHT

Potters Bar,

Hertfordshire

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