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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

House of Lords -'beyond reform' time for it to go

In a debate secured in Westminster Hall tomorrow SNP MP, Pete Wishart, will call for the abolition of the House of Lords as an institution that is now beyond reform. Many attempts have been made over the years to bring democracy into the House of Peers – but the SNP are urging its abolition in the next parliament.

Speaking before the debate at Westminster - Mr Wishart commented: “The House of Lords with its staggering 847 members, including hereditary peers and Bishops of the Church of England, is the most absurd political institution in the democratic world and it is right to describe it as an affront to our democracy. What should concern us just as much is not the embarrassment over its indefensible bloated size or the absurdity of its membership criteria - it is its potential and history of abuse, the total lack of accountability and its corrosive, distorting influence in our political life."

Continuing Pete Wishart said: “When we bypass democracy and leave the composition of a legislature up to politicians and party bosses there are very obvious concerns and we only have to look at the recent appointments to the House of Lords to see that this is a very real present danger. The temptation is that those politicians will simply be tempted to stuff the place full of friends, cronies and placemen. But it is the donors that should concern us - people who have a role in our ‘democracy’ whose only qualification seems to be the ability to give one of the Westminster establishment parties a significant cash donation. ‘Cash for Honours’ is the most obvious recent example of this abuse when the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was questioned by the police and his chief fundraiser arrested - but since then appointments show donors are still a major feature."

"The public have a right to demand better than this and we now need to just abolish the whole un-reformable place and put in place a democratic institution accountable to the electorate." Mr Wishart added.