What kind of upper chamber?

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The Independent Online
THE ROYAL Commission on Lords reform will have a wide-ranging remit to consider the impact of electoral reform on Westminster, and devolution to Scotland, Wales and the regions.

These are the main options it will study:

Option One: a wholly elected house - the most democratic option, but could challenge the powers of the Commons. Members could be elected on the same boundaries as MPs, by proportional representation (PR) on new boundaries or by a combination of seats with a top-up from party lists on a PR system.

Option Two: Wholly appointed: the least democratic option. Tony Blair has promised that life-peer appointments will be vetted by an independent commission.

Option Three: Mixed elected and appointed house. Could avoid challenging the status of the Commons because it would not be able to claim the same mandate. This remains the most likely option.

Option Four: House of the regions. Members could be appointed from the regional assemblies that have yet to be established, like big county councils.

Option Five: A Chamber of the Nations. William Hague's flirtation with the idea of an English parliament to counter the impact of devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has led some to suggest the upper house should represent the UK, while the Commons is relegated to the status of a chamber for England.

Option Six: The wild card suggestions include winning a seat in the Lords by lottery. At least it would not be open to the PM's patronage.

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