Letter: Peers have no right to scupper reform

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The Independent Online
Sir: Baron Cecil (otherwise known as Viscount Cranborne) may be considered by our political elite to be a member of the "most distinguished dynasty in 400 years of British politics" ("A lordly plot to save their place", 4 December). But to most of us, he has no moral authority on which to base his plans to scupper possible proposals for democratic reform brought forward by a new government elected by the people of the UK.

Of course, we should not forget our history. It is important that democratic reform keeps those traditions and practices which work effectively, in order to maintain our own distinctive political culture. But how can a second chamber predominantly based on an accident of birth and through a male line of succession possibly take us into the 21st century? The time for aristocratic families to have fun at playing politics is past. Lord Cranborne's actions can only demonstrate to us that reform of the House of Lords is long overdue.

ANDREW PUDDEPHATT

Director, Charter 88

London EC1

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