Letter from Anne Begg MP (LR 43)
I have just received your letter asking for
my views on the composition of a reformed House of Lords.
I have no strong preference as to whether the
House of Lords should be wholly elected or not because I believe
that the House of Lords should be abolished completely. I don't
think that the constitutional changes which are necessary for
complete abolition are yet in place, so I would delay any reform
for 5 to 10 years when there is likely to be greater regional
government and a radically reformed House of Commons. If the House
of Commons undertakes more pre-legislative scrutiny, following
the model of the Scottish Parliament, then the floor of the Commons
becomes the revising Chamber, negating the need for the Lords.
The expertise, presently sitting in the Lords, could possibly
be co-opted onto the pre-legislative scrutiny committees as and
However, we are only part of the way through
the devolutionary process. There is still a need for devolution
to the English regions which I believe is likely to come to pass
over the next 10 years. I favour an asymmetric devolved system
similar to the Spanish model.
I am afraid that if the House of Lords is reformed
now it will become entrenched and will be almost impossible to
abolish when, in a few years time, the constitutional map of Britain
will look very different.
I realise this is a minority view but I thought
your committee would welcome the different views held on House
of Lords reform.
Anne Begg MP