Express readers rally behind idea to abolish outdated House of Lords

Labour would aim to abolish the House of Lords says Starmer

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has vowed to abolish the House of Lords and replace it with an elected chamber if he becomes prime minister. He said he would act quickly to scrap the British Parliament’s unelected second chamber, a move backed by 84 percent of readers in a new poll.

Labour’s plans were revealed as part of a report published on Monday by a commission headed by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, listing some 40 recommendations to address the House of Lords, devolution of power and the future of the United Kingdom. 

The report, titled A New Britain, by the Commission on the UK’s Future was approved in December 2020 and promised to spread “power, wealth and opportunity” beyond Westminster. 

Subject to consultation, the recommendations will feature in Labour’s manifesto for the next general election.

Sir Keir said at a joint press conference with Mr Brown he has “long been convinced that this broken model has held back our politics and held back our economy,” adding that he was “determined we unbind ourselves and free our potential”.

He said the constitutional overhaul would free up £200million annually and told the BBC that Labour would replace the “indefensible” House of Lords with an elected body “with a strong mission”.

He explained: “I profoundly think that the fact we hold too much power in Whitehall is holding us back, not only politically – with people feeling more distant from politics – but economically.

“Amongst the reasons we have failed to grow our economy in the last 12 years is we’re not allowing every part of the UK to play its part economically.”

Sir Keir did not set out a time frame but told Sky News’ Kay Burley the recommendations “are capable of being implemented in the first term”.

In a poll that ran from 3.30pm on Monday, December 5, to 1pm on Tuesday, December 6, asked readers: “Should the House of Lords be abolished?”

Overall, 6,017 people cast their votes with the vast majority, 84 percent (5,067 people), answering “yes” in favour of the House of Lords being abolished.

Whereas 15 percent (897 people) said “no” against the move and a further one percent (53 people) said they did not know either way.

Hundreds of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers took part in a lively debate on the House of Lords.

Many readers commented in favour of Labour’s proposals, with username durfel writing: “It should have gone centuries ago.”

Username Nick Grant said: “Should have been abolished years ago. How can unelected peers debate and have a say on British people’s lives.”

Another, username lethenman, said: “The House of Lords needs to be completely cleared out. We need MPs and Lords that will work for the people and country not against us!”

And username Leeds12345 added: “The House of Lords needs to be scrapped and replaced with something functional. Business leaders and experts across a range of functions to actually do what the House of Lords is supposed to do.”


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Meanwhile, username Brian at home said: “They should have been abolished many years ago. We should have an elected top chamber of no more than 200 people.”

Username Bryan_1324 wrote: “Abolish them. It is an outdated throwback from times long gone.”

Similarly, username NorthernGeezer said: “There’s no place for it in modern society.”

However, other readers argued that the chamber needed to undergo reformation rather than be abolished.

Username FlameStrike said: “It’s not a very sensible idea to do away with so much heritage, advice and tradition. Reform may be sensible but drastic extreme actions are not.”

Username Partridge said: “The House of Lords should be reformed but not abolished. Evolution not revolution.”

And username Scampi2 wrote: “It can only be abolished if something better is proposed.”

While username Hereward wake added: “And replaced with what? It needs reforming, but we’ve seen that the Commons can’t be left to run the show without somebody watching them.”

The House of Lords is Britain’s unelected second chamber of Parliament and helps the elected House of Commons to shape the nation’s laws by scrutinising and challenging the work of Government.

It currently has some 800 members who are mostly life peers and chosen to join based on their experience and expertise in politics, law or subject areas. There are also 91 sitting hereditary peers who have been given the title through their families and  25 bishops from the Church of England.

Mr Brown has proposed a new “smaller, more representative and democratic” chamber of members drawn from across the UK, expected to be called the Assembly of Nations and Regions.

Lord Speaker and former Labour MP Lord McFall is expected to give a speech on Wednesday, December 7, setting out a consensus-based reform of the chamber.

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