Select Committee on Public Administration Sixth Report


The Public Administration Select Committee has agreed to the following Report:


1. Today we publish the Government's response to the Committee's Fifth Report of this Session: "The Second Chamber: Continuing the Reform", which on 14 February set out our views on the next stage of House of Lords reform.

2. The Government admits that its response is only an interim one. This is disappointing, though understandable. There have been more than 1000 contributions to the Government's consultation on the reform of the House of Lords, and no doubt the Government wishes to consider them carefully before deciding on the way ahead. We are glad that the Government can immediately accept some of our conclusions and recommendations, especially where it agrees with us on the importance of a reformed chamber in holding the executive to account.

3. But one thing is clear. Nothing that has happened since we published our Report makes us change our view that there must be, as we said then, "an early and credible reform of the second chamber". For us, that means a legitimate chamber with a much greater role for election than that envisaged by the Government. This was part of a practical package of reform, with a clear timescale, on which the Committee unanimously agreed. It was aimed at making Parliament as a whole stronger. We are also confident that this cross-party agreement represents the views of the vast majority in the House of Commons, and that there is widespread public support for the kind of chamber we are proposing. We suspect that this will be amply confirmed when the results of the Government's consultation exercise are published.

4. In the light of this widespread agreement, we see no reason for the Government to delay much longer. The Government has an impressive record of constitutional reform to its credit. However, not to continue the reform of the Second Chamber, in the way that we have shown to be possible, would be a missed opportunity of historic proportions.

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