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Session 1997-98
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Parliamentary Reform Bill

This is the text of the Parliamentary Reform Bill, as presented to the House of Commons on 14 July 1998

Parliamentary Reform Bill
1.Election of a Council of State.
2.Membership of the Council.
3.Eligibility of candidates for election.
4.Men and women candidates to be listed separately.
5.Voting by electors.
6.Timing of elections.
7.Powers of the Council.
8.Transfer of judicial functions to the Privy Council.
9.Dissolution of the House of Lords.
10.Ending of the Parliamentary role of Peers.
11.Title of Councillors.
12.Regulations for elections to the Council.
13.Financial provisions.
14.Short title.





Provide for the election of a Council of State to replace the House of Lords; and for connected purposes.

Whereas it is desirable that laws passed by Parliament under which the people of Britain are governed should all be considered, debated and decided by persons who have been elected by, are answerable to, and removable by those who are required to obey such laws;And whereas the continuation of the House of Lords composed of persons who have either inherited their titles or have been appointed by executive decision without any electoral legitimacy, and who are protected from any democratic accountability for their actions is both outdated and fundamentally unacceptable;And whereas the prerogatives of the Crown to appoint bishops, judges, European commissioners, cabinets and to create peerages have conferred upon the Prime Minister of the day who exercises all these powers a wholly excessive and undemocratic degree of patronage which historically has been, and could still be, abused for personal and political advantage without regard to the public interest;And whereas there is now a wider demand from the people to gain greater control of their destiny through the ballot box to choose and remove all members of Parliament in both Houses;And whereas it is desirable that a second chamber of Parliament be elected as a Council of State to perform the functions now exercised by the House of Lords, subject to the over-riding authority of the House of Commons, under the Parliament Acts:- Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

Election of a Council of State.     1. A Council of State shall be elected to replace the House of Lords in Parliament.
Membership of the Council.     2. There shall be four members elected to the Council to represent each constituency as now constituted for the purpose of electing members of the European Parliament.
Eligibility of candidates for election.     3. All persons, including all existing members of the House of Lords who are not disqualified under the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975, shall be eligible to serve on the Council.
Men and women candidates to be listed separately.     4. The ballot paper for each constituency shall contain the names of men and women candidates on separate lists.
Voting by electors.     5. Every elector, in each constituency, shall be entitled to vote for two men and two women and the two persons on each list receiving the most votes shall be elected to serve on the Council.
Timing of elections.     6. The first election for the Council shall take place within six months of the passing of this Act and subsequent elections shall take place at the same time and on the same day as those for the House of Commons.
Powers of the Council.     7. The Council shall have the same legislative duties, responsibilities and powers as have heretofore been exercised by the House of Lords and the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 shall regulate its relations with the House of Commons.
Transfer of judicial functions to the Privy Council.     8. The judicial functions of the House of Lords shall be vested in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
Dissolution of the House of Lords.     9. The House of Lords shall be dissolved as a House of Parliament on the day that the elections to the Council take place and from thenceforth shall cease to exist as a House of Parliament.
Ending of the Parliamentary role of Peers.     10. Those persons who are members of the House of Lords, whether spiritual or temporal, at that time shall thereafter cease to enjoy any legal privileges beyond those that they may possess other than as Lords.
Title of Councillors.     11. Members of the Council shall be known as councillors.
Regulations for elections to the Council.     12. The Secretary of State shall make and lay before Parliament regulations providing for elections to the Council to take place on the same basis as elections to the House of Commons and to provide for the filling of vacancies in the event of death or resignation of a councillor.
Financial provisions.     13. There shall be paid out of money provided by Parliament any expenses under this Act.
Short title.     14. This Act may be cited as the Parliamentary Reform Act 1998.

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© Parliamentary copyright 1998
Prepared 15 July 1998