Tuesday 17 August 1999
Sir: I have always argued that Tony Blair's plans for the Lords risk creating a quango house of appointees.
The realities of the changes in the Lords are: Most of the independent members in Parliament will be expelled - replaced by a chamber controlled by appointees of the Prime Minister in power.
The House of Commons is no longer a check on an over powerful executive - neither will the House of Lords be if Mr Blair has his way.
The Prime Minister should wait for the report of the Royal Commission before changing the composition of the House of Lords. Mr Blair is in a headlong rush that could put the constitution of this country at the mercy of the executive of whichever government is in power.
The Prime Minister should agree to legislate for an independent statutory appointments commission. The House of Lords has already passed such an amendment. Unless he does this, any Prime Minster could have who he wants as a peer - whatever the merits of the person concerned.
Independent polls have shown voters in this country do not want any change that increases Prime Minister patronage. Voters want the Prime Minister pressed to reveal his full plans for reform before any dangerous interim measures are made.
Leader of the Opposition
House of Lords
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Michelle Watt's father says TV presenter killed herself because she was in constant pain
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 San Francisco TV news crew attacked by armed robbers during live broadcast
- 4 Greek debt crisis: The photograph that conveys the despair of Greece's elderly
- 5 Miami defendant sobs in court as he realises he and the judge attended the same school
Bad luck, One Direction: Paul McCartney doubts success of The Beatles will ever be matched again
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
The Crystal Maze: Richard O’Brien confirmed to return as more details revealed about show's rebooted format
Guillaume Tell's gang-rape scene caused uproar at the Royal Opera House – but the portrayal of extreme sex and violence on stage is nothing new
Britain's best outdoor cinemas to visit this summer from Somerset House to Luna Cinema
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture