Sunday, 24 April 2011

Lords promise is broken by CamerClegg

Cameron and Clegg are ignoring their promise to make the House of Lords reflect the votes in the last general election by appointing new Lords to balance the House. Instead Cameron had appointed 117 new Lords (the highest number of any prime minister in their first year).

The current make up of the Lords is now:

Party Life Peers Excepted
Hereditary Peers*
Bishops Total
Conservative 170 48
Labour 239 4
Liberal Democrat 89 4
Crossbench 153 31

25 25
Other** 27 2
Total 678 89 25 792

The 20th May 2010 Coalition Agreement stated: "We will establish a committee to bring forward proposals for a wholly or mainly elected upper chamber on the basis of proportional representation. The committee will come forward with a draft motion by December 2010. It is likely that this will advocate single long terms of office. It is also likely that there will be a grandfathering system for current Peers. In the interim, Lords appointments will be made with the objective of creating a second chamber that is reflective of the share of the vote secured by the political parties in the last general election."

So assuming (as I think the statement does) that the 'reflective' part of the statement applied to parties with MPs and ignoring the Bishops, Crossbenchers and 'others' (DUP, UUP, UKIP, PC, and Tory and Lab independents), then there are 554 party aligned peers with Labour holding 44% of seats.

On the assumption that Cameron does not want to go down the line of firing, stringing them up or making them redundant, then the high number of Labour peers would need to be countered by appointing Tories and Lib Dems. A quick bit a maths shows that another 188 would need to be appointed, 88 Tory and 100 Lib Dems to balance the equasion.

Party Peers Current % MPs Votes % Share of GE vote Lords target Increase
Conservative 218 39% 307 10,828,916 41.2% 306            88
Labour 243 44% 258 8,606,518 32.8% 243            -  
LibDem 93 17% 57 6,836,718 26.0% 193         100
Total 554

742          188

This would bring the total number of Lords to almost 1000. At a cost of £156k per Lord, that make a cost of £156m or an increase of around £50m since 2010. The would need to sack a few more doctors, teachers and firemen at that rate.

Of course, if Labour win the election in 2015 then they will want to redress the balance. Within a few cycles the number of Lords is increasing even more quickly and drastically.

How much easier it would be to elect and un-elect them, but where would the jobs for the boys go?

No comments: