Abolish the Lords?

The House of Lords looks outdated to many in the UK

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Should the House of Lords be abolished?

By Joe Harker

Many governments turn their eye to the House of Lords when looking for ways to reform the way politics works in the UK.

For the first time in over a decade a government sits in the House of Commons which has enough of a majority to fiddle with the Lords, but will Boris Johnson take his chance?

Moreover, there are calls from elsewhere in politics to abolish the Lords altogether, making the future of Westminster's upper chamber unclear.

The Claim:

Labour leadership hopeful Rebecca Long-Bailey promised to abolish the House of Lords if she ever became party leader and got into government.

She is not alone in calling for the abolition of the Lords, just the most recent to say something.

Long-Bailey said she wanted a "democratically accountable" upper chamber rather than the currently unelected one that includes hereditary peers and bishops.

There is space for a second chamber staffed with experts who are less subject to the whims of party politics and it may be hard to make requisite changes without abolishing the whole thing and starting again from scratch.

Plenty in Westminster believe the House of Lords needs major change which may not be possible unless it is ditched and a new chamber introduced.

The Counter Claim:

Even those who don't think the House of Lords should be done away with entirely tend to support a reduction in the size of the chamber.

The Tories are planning on conducting a "major overhaul" of the Lords, with the prime minister hoping reform will help tackle Scottish nationalism.

The government is looking at whether the Lords should have directly or indirectly elected members, giving each nation that makes up part of the UK a greater stake in Westminster.

Concerns over the union and the criticism of the House of Lords being undemocratic means the Conservatives could earn some favours by enacting reforms.

The government has a strong majority and is fresh off a successful election, if there is a point where they can make major change to British democracy it's now.

The Facts:

The House of Lords grew to 796 peers yesterday, compared to the 650 seats taken by MPs and the speaker in the House of Commons.

There has also been some recent controversy over former Tory MPs Nicky Morgan and Zac Goldsmith being part of Boris Johnson's cabinet.

Morgan did not contest her former position as MP for Loughborough and Goldsmith lost his seat during the general election. Both were given life peerages and continue to be part of Johnson's cabinet despite neither being chosen by the electorate in December.

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Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey vows to abolish the House of Lords

Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey has said she would abolish the House of Lords if she won power.

The favoured candidate of the Labour left in the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn also indicated that she would be ready to authorise a second independence referendum in Scotland.

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