Political and Constitutional Reform CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Mr Simon Cramp

1. Thank you for the chance to respond to this particular inquiry.

2. I am a person who has a learning disability and dyslexia. I have worked in the public and voluntary not for profit sector and worked with members of the house of lords on helping to get the right deal for people with a learning disability.

3. I think it important for the House of Lords not to lose its special status in my heart in that, sorry to say, the debates are better informed by the richness of the debate of the bills that come as part of the Government programme or individual Members of the House wheather it be crossbenchers or a political appointments by the Prime Minister.

4. In terms of your areas I will be very brief.

On this group:

The desirability, practicality and effectiveness of mechanisms for reducing the size of the House of Lords, including the following:

no longer replacing hereditary peers in the House of Lords when they die;

measures to remove persistent non-attendees;

a moratorium on new peers;

fixed-term appointments for new peers; and

a retirement age for peers.

6. My answer is this I agree re the first bullet point you should not be there because you happen to be in the right family and gain the title of lord or baroness or earl just because your family was born with the title.

7. Yes to the second but with one caveat that if there is a short term illness saying you may be able to return to the house because you have had a heart attack and the doctors don’t see a reason not to. I am planning to get back to what I love doing—public speaking—because the doctors can’t see a reason why not as surgery was successful and the prognosis was good.

8. Well yes but maybe there should be an election every five years one third of the house and that the only political peers is a handful enough to cover the posts re that are required for government minister shadow ministers and opposition as we will not have a coalition government for more than possibly two parliaments as I think the british public will get bored with coalition policies as it only the second time it has happened, I believe, in modern times.

9. On fixed terms appointments—this should apply only to ministers and shadow ministers appointed by the party leaders on fixed terms under the fixed terms parliament act 2011.

10. And Prime Minister is not allowed to appoint a non-peer to the post to replace him ie the recent CBI director general Lord Digby Jones mid way though the 2005–10 parliament on the base of “I want the best talent for the job”.

11. Could be seen by some as a smoke screen to not allow that person to speak freely as a person because that person is associated to a political party by default.

12. But also as long as a peer can prove he or she can contribute there should not be a retirement age.

13. Question 3—the desirability and scope of a mechanism to expel peers who have been convicted of a serious offence.

14. No contest. Expenses scandals and any criminal activity should carry (besides the penalty issued by the courts) a life time ban.

15. Question 4—the desirability, composition and remit of a Statutory Appointments Commission.

16. Give people with hidden disabilities and those that have learned from their mistakes a chance to be able to contribute as there are not enough lords, baronesses and earls with disabilities.

17. Question 5—the scope for establishing a consensus about the principles which should determine the relative numerical strengths of the different party groups in the House of Lords, and for codifying such principles. I have answered this question.

28 March 2013

Prepared 16th October 2013