Select Committee on Public Administration Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Letter from Michael Foster DL, MP (LR 57)

  Thank you for your letter of 17 January. I am pleased to respond to the Committee's request for "opinions" on what should happen next.

  I am conscious that I did not respond by 25 January but for what it is worth my opinion is as follows:

    (a)  I believe that the "wrong" to be righted is in the hereditary system. I would however allow the remainder of the hereditaries to remain and speak in the House of Lords but with no right to vote;

    (b)  I am against any new body being directly elected as I think it makes for an alternative seat of power in conflict with the Commons.

    (c)  The simple option I prefer would be for a significant ie the majority of the House being indirectly elected at the time of the General Election, by proportional representation.

  To summarise, proportional representation would perhaps provide around two-thirds of the House and would represent the Parties in the proportion of their vote in a General Election. They would be subject to a list system but I see no problem with that. The remaining members of the House would be appointed as now, although no new appointments would be made until the existing numbers had fallen through "natural wastage".

  I do not pretend that these proposals are well worked through but they are my gut reaction.

  Finally, I always consider matters important if I receive post or concerns from constituents. I received about 700 letters on fox hunting, 30 letters on Afghanistan but have received none at all on the House of Lords!

Michael Foster DL MP

Hastings and Rye

February 2002

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