Letter: Hereditary peers

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Hereditary peers

WHAT is going to replace the broad knowledge of affairs that is available from the present peerage, if hereditary peers are to be removed from the councils of the realm?

As Edmund Burke said: "Persons nurtured in office [that is, in the law and politics] do admirably well, as long as things go in their common order; but when the high roads are broken up, and the waters out, when a new and troubled scene is opened, and the file affords no precedent, then it is that a greater knowledge of mankind, and a far more extensive comprehension of things, is requisite than ever office gave, or than office can ever give."

What guarantee can the Government give us that the "greater knowledge of mankind" available in the present House of Lords will not be replaced by the more narrow view of "office holders"?