Supplementary Memorandum by The Reverend
A Pyke (LR 1(a))
Many thanks for your kind reply to my letter
of 8 November and for the remarks that you make.
After I had written the letter I realised that
I had not addressed the very vexed issue of the relative power
balance between the two Houses. The more democratic legitimacy
is conferred on the Upper House, so it is said, the more difficulty
there is in asserting the superiority of the Commons. The solution,
it seems, is to water down the credibility of the Upper House
to avoid the problem.
I disagree. The Upper House must have democratic
legitimacy in order to command public respect and to attract people
of proven ability to serve in it. It must also have real power
without upsetting the balance between the two Houses. In my view,
the Upper House should scrutinise bills sent from the Commons
and suggest amendments as it does now and, if necessary, by a
simple majority reject them. The Commons, if they are of the same
mind, should return a bill to the Upper House. If it is rejected
again by a simple majority then the Commons could invoke the Parliament
Act to secure their legislation. If, however, the Bill were to
be rejected again by a two thirds majority in the Upper House
the decision would be irreversible by use of the Parliament Act.
I believe that such an arrangement would give a good balance of
power between the two Houses as it would only be in quite exceptional
circumstances that a two thirds majority against the government
could be achieved, if at all. I have not heard of anyone advancing
this idea as a possible solution to the dilemma so I am passing
it on to you for what it is worth.