As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m in favour of a reformed House of Lords. I support a mainly elected upper chamber, but with some cross-bench, independent peers.
So, here’s my wish list for the Lords.
1) Long, single terms of service. It’s vital that peers are practised at scrutinising details. Equally, I think it important that peers should see this as a one-off service to the country; a part rather than the whole of a career.
2) Proportional representation. Peers need to be independent of constituency pressures in order to focus on the broader well-being of UK legislation. Therefore they must either be indirectly elected, or elected from large constituencies in a similar manner to MEPs.
3) Elections by thirds. As in many local councils, this ensures a certain continuity of experience and collective memory. It also means that fewer peers are elected at each election, resulting in practical elections. Which brings me on to the next one…
4) Fair elections. A closed list system puts the power straight into the hands of those ordering the list. Besides, I might support Helen Grant but not Nadine Dorries, or support Oliver Letwin but not John Redwood. I’d suggest a semi-open list, or even STV.
Here’s hoping I get at least some of my list by the next general election…