Letter: Elect a Scottish House of Lords and save the Union

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Sir: I share your desire for full-scale reform of the British constitution including the written and unwritten, the efficient and the ceremonial. The House of Lords, however, is only one component of the whole and there are great dangers in treating it in isolation.

The elected chamber is just as much in need of reform. The same is true of the relationships between central and regional or local government. There are also the ever-increasing quangos, many of which escape real accountability and democratic policy-making. Full and participating citizenship is another issue to be addressed.

Many interests will need to be consulted, in particular the Crown (which is already taking thought for the future) and the judiciary (where improvements in both civil and criminal procedures are much needed).

It seems that only a well-staffed Royal Commission, taking five or more years, is likely to succeed in handling the complexity and in preserving the necessary balance. Quick fixes based on party ideology or advantage are above all to be avoided. It will be worth taking enough time and serious thought in order to evolve a constitution adequate to the needs of this country in the 21st century.


House of Lords

London SW1