The Senate for Britain campaign believes that there is no room for life or hereditary peers in Britain today.
The British people deserve a parliamentary chamber which is representative of the broad political parties and opinions presiding in this country.
The British people have this — it’s called the House of Commons.
A ’senate’ is a US-import – No. More than 50 countries around the world have national senates. If anything, it’s an import from ancient Greece. Like democracy.
We can’t do without appointed experts – While it is useful to have experts from different fields or professions in parliament, it is not a panacea for good legislation…
Antiretroviral drugs are not a panacea for HIV, but you are probably better off with them than without.
…An expert on plant biology might be useful for a bill on GM foods. But is it right that that expert has the right to vote on bills about crime or immigration?…
Most members of the Commons are not experts on anything, yet they have the right to vote on everything. The expert on plant biology will have a good grasp of logical reasoning which is applicable to all issues.
…What if their personal views on social issues are abhorrent?
This can equally well apply to someone who is elected.
Reform would strip Lords of their titles – No. Many peers received their title due to their immense contributions to public life in Britain. They still deserve to be recognised. Abolishing a House of Lords and the entitlement of Lords to sit in Parliament is not the same as abolishing Lords themselves, nor this system of honours.
Renewal – The image of the House of Lords has been tarnished irreparably in the eyes of the public by the expenses scandal.
The image of the elected House of Commons has been just as tarnished. Democracy is not a cure for corruption.
Anti-democratic – Few, if any, modern democracies retain hereditary peers as parliamentarians.
Indeed. But this is argumentum ad numerum; just because many nations do, or do not do, something is a poor indicator of its efficacy.
Unrepresentative – Britain needs a chamber which reflects its broad spectrum of political opinion.
Britain has a chamber which reflects its broad spectrum of political opinion — it’s called the House of Commons. STV proportional representation would, of course, improve this.
Cronies – Life peers, for all their individual merits, are appointed on a highly calculated, tactical and partisan manner.
Yesterday’s men and women – Most life peers won their appointments years or even decades ago. What right has a friend of the prime minister from the 1960s or 1970s to remain in parliament today?