Hypocrisy over the Lords?

Politicians are taking aim at the House of Lords

Daily Express

Scrap the House of Lords! Jacob Rees-Mogg's FURY as unelected peers try to STOP BREXIT

Unelected peers have sparked widespread fury after defeating the Government 14 times with a series of amendments to the Brexit Bill.

The controversial votes have included calls for the UK to stay in the customs union and remain part of various EU agencies.

The Lords' stance has led Eurosceptic MPs to call for the upper chamber to be dramatically reformed or even abolished.

Peers fear the "arrogant" pro-EU peers are weakening the Government's negotiating position during Brexit talks with Brussels.

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Are politicians being hypocrites over the House of Lords?

By Joe Harker

In the battle between the government and the House of Lords it is the latter that is consistently showing up and embarrassing the former.

The House of Lords has made significant changes to the EU Withdrawal Bill and it looks very different to the document proposed by David Davis last year. The changes have softened the type of Brexit the UK is likely to get and could even prompt some less than happy with Brexit Tory MPs to act. Naturally this means the House of Lords now has a massive target on its back.

A number of Tory MPs including Iain Duncan Smith are now talking about reforming the House of Lords, with a "complete and total overhaul" mooted. Duncan Smith has consistently supported reforming the Lords but many of his allies have not. He said: "After this is all over, there will have to be a reckoning, a complete and total overhaul of the House of Lords.

"That reckoning I'm afraid is one they have brought on themselves. I have believed in reforming the upper chamber for years."

Many others such as Jacob Rees-Mogg have consistently voted against changing the House of Lords, their rhetoric at odds with their voting record. Like almost everything in modern UK politics it comes back to Brexit and the issue of support. Even if the politicians calling for change or an end to the Lords didn't actually support it, they will happily dispense with it as soon as it becomes a political inconvenience.

However, there is some merit in reforming the House of Lords. It is an unelected chamber that is susceptible to being stacked with supporters of political parties, so they will support whichever party elevated them to their new status.

However, a desire for reform born from finding them inconvenient is the wrong motivation for political change. If the House of Lords is reformed at a later date then it should not be because it served its function in Parliament and frustrated Brexiteer MPs doing so.

Conversely, there are people who believe the House of Lords should be abolished but are willing to put those beliefs on hold as long as Brexit is impeded. This is a dangerous stance to take, agreeing with something because it is politically convenient at the time. If there is to be Lords reform it should be as free as possible from political grudges or favours.

Changes to the House of Lords could come in the form of ditching the "lazy Lords" as peers who do not attend and participate often are made to step down.

The Independent reports that members of the House of Lords are willing to back this change if the Prime Minister will also introduce a cap on the numbers of peers. Proposed plans would introduce a cap of 600 which would be reached by a "two out, one in" system and a term limit of 15 years.

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New Statesman

Tory MPs and the Daily Mail have no right to complain about the House of Lords

At Karl Marx's funeral on 17 March 1883 in Highgate Cemetery, north London, a mere nine people were present. The philosopher's 200th birthday party was rather better attended. On 5 May 2018, in Marx's hometown of Trier, west Germany, hundreds watched as a Chinese-funded, 14ft statue of the theorist was unveiled. In London, a similar number gathered at the School of Oriental and African Studies for a day-long conference on Marx's thought. Among those present was the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell.

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