They’ve continued to top-up their numbers by holding by-elections when one in every of them retires or dies. Solely holders of hereditary peerages can stand in these by-elections and the voters is made up of sitting members of the Home of Lords.

A number of makes an attempt have been made to scrap the system through the years but it surely stays in place.

“They had been solely presupposed to be momentary, they need to have been completed a very long time in the past,” Baroness Smith instructed the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

However she stopped wanting saying all 92 hereditary friends can be kicked out of the Lords instantly if Labour wins the election.

She instructed the committee she had an “open thoughts” about this – and mentioned MPs must await Labour’s election manifesto for full particulars of the get together’s plans to reform the Lords.

Labour chief Sir Keir Starmer is dedicated to abolishing the Lords in its present kind and changing it with an elected chamber – however the plan has already been watered down and is unlikely to be a prime precedence for an incoming Labour authorities.

Baroness Smith did promise that Labour wouldn’t pack the Lords with new friends, though the Conservatives presently have 100 greater than Labour.

“I can let you know a Labour authorities wouldn’t appoint lots of of latest friends.” she instructed the committee.

She mentioned Labour needed to shrink the dimensions of the Lords, which presently has 786 members. She believed it needs to be the identical dimension or smaller than the Commons, which has 650 members, she instructed MPs.

However, on the similar time, she mentioned her “superb” answer can be “roughly equal numbers” between the federal government and the primary opposition get together, which she mentioned may very well be achieved over time.

Lord True mentioned he was not “obsessed” with the variety of friends, as a result of many weren’t “skilled” politicians and didn’t usually participate in votes or debates.

“You by no means want sharp elbows to get a seat within the Home of Lords,” he instructed the committee.

However, he argued, many friends nonetheless had experience to contribute and “if it isn’t a full-time home {of professional} politicians it needs to be bigger than the Home of Commons for folks to fulfil the roles”.

He additionally cautioned towards scrapping by-elections for hereditary friends.

“The hereditary peerage, whose common age is just below 70, would die out and you’d be left with an all appointed home accidentally.”

Lord True made clear that his private view – not that of the federal government – was that the Home of Lords needs to be elected.

“However this isn’t the place the place we discover ourselves,” he added.

“We discover ourselves in a parliamentary system which operates effectively, in my judgement, and any subsequent step needs to be thought-about fastidiously and thought of collectively.”


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