Select Committee on Public Administration Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Letter from The Rt Hon Douglas Hogg, QC, MP, Viscount Hailsham (LR 49)

  Thank you for your letter of 21st November and I know you have written more recently to colleagues.

  I am a strong supporter of a wholly elected House of Lords. I welcome any decision in favour of a substantially elected House of Lords but I personally would prefer a wholly elected one.

  I have seen the memorandum submitted by Mark Fisher dated 21st January 2002 with which I very largely agree. However I personally would greatly increase the powers of the Second Chamber so that in substance they were equal to those in the House of Commons. In short I wish to create a Senate.

  To answer questions that you have not asked; I think that the members of the Second Chamber who are elected should have a constituency and I would probably use the Old European constituencies as the basis for that. I believe that they should be directly elected and by way of some form of Proportional Representation. However they should be elected as individuals and not a closed Party list. I think that they should be elected for extended terms but that there should be an overall limit on the number of terms that they can serve. Ministers should not be members of the Second Chamber though they will have to appear before it — both to answer questions and to have the conduct of legislation and policy. It will be necessary to arrange anti-deadlock procedures so as to prevent deadlock between the two Houses. There is no justification for either the Law Lords or the Bishops sitting there.

  All in all I want to create a Senate. The Senate will have powers broadly comparable to the House of Commons. The creation of the Senate may in time lead to the reform of the House of Commons which is long overdue. The House of Commons is but the creature of Party and Government and is only democratic in form. The real problem lies with us and we need to call another Chamber into existence in order to in part to remedy the faults which we have allowed to corrupt and dominate this place.

January 2002

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