Select Committee on Public Administration Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Letter from The Rt Hon Lord Strathclyde (LR 26)

  Thank you for your recent letter. I very much welcome your enquiry into House of Lords Reform and strongly agree with its underlying premise. Parliament has been shut out of the process of discussing this immensely far-reaching and this time probably permanent reform of Parliament for far too long. Parliamentary reform should not be the plaything of a single party in power.

  The Lord Chancellor's model is of an 80 per cent appointed House, with 20 per cent more chosen by closed list selection, and laid on top of a House in which all existing life peers, including the 245 created in the last four years, will stay for life. I do not see this as a serious proposition in a modern democracy, any more than the old House was. What I believe we need is a House with the authority to act with confidence in holding the executive to account and scrutinising legislation in partnership with the House of Commons.

  I still think the government was right in 1997 to propose a Joint Committee of both Houses. I hope even yet it may change its mind. But I look forward to giving evidence, as invited, to your Select Committee, which I hope will decide to point the way to a more genuine reform than that now on the table.

January 2002

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