Labour peer Peter Hain called for an EU-style chamber after Brexit, as reports reveal Boris Johnson is examining radical plans to reform the Upper House.
6 January 2020
By Martina Bet
It emerged today that senior Conservatives told The Sunday Times the Government was looking at plans to reform the House of Lords. The proposals were drawn up by Lord Salisbury, the former Leader of the House of Lords, who is currently advocating with the Constitution Reform Group (CRG) for the Act of Union Bill. The Bill, which is said to be “on the desk” of Mr Johnson’s team, is the first attempt to “devise a coherent plan for what should happen after many powers return from the European Union”.
The blueprint proposes a federal structure for the continuation of the Union, establishing the principle of self-determination among all four parts, as well as radical reforms in Westminster.
One of the most fundamental reforms, the group says, concerns the House of Lords.
The bill offers two alternatives, either reforming the House or abolishing it altogether.
According to Lord Hain, who is also on the steering committee of the CRG, the Lords should be replaced with an EU-style chamber after Brexit.
He said: “The number of people in the House of Lords is ridiculous.
“It should be at least smaller than the House of Commons.
“I believe in an elected House of Lords, or at least 80 percent elected 20 appointed.
“I think the quality of debate in the Lords is far higher than the Commons, but I think that the second chamber should represent the country.”
Lord Hain added: “For example you could, at the same time you cast your vote for the general election, also elect a proportion of peers or senators from Wales or Yorkshire.”
When asked whether it would make sense to use the European constituencies after Brexit, the peer said: “That’s actually where the working model is.
“To use the European constituencies.
“You would get a number around about 300.”
When asked whether he would stand, if an election was held tomorrow, Lord Hain responded positively.
Lord Hain’s comments came at an event organised by the London Grill Club last month.
According to The Sunday Times, the proposals for the House of Lords will be looked at as part of a commission on the constitution, due to be set up by Mr Johnson in the spring.
The commission will also reportedly look into the roles of the Supreme Court and the Lord Chancellor and whether the constitutional balance is right.
A senior Conservative familiar with the discussions told the publication: “Lord Salisbury produced a paper that set out a blueprint to turn it into the House of the Nations and Regions.
“He has spoken to Boris about it. It attracts their attention a great deal. The Lords is one of those areas where they can have a couple of fights.”
You can access the full article on The Daily Express website here.