Letter from The Rt Hon Lord Strathclyde
Thank you for your recent letter. I very much
welcome your enquiry into House of Lords Reform and strongly agree
with its underlying premise. Parliament has been shut out of the
process of discussing this immensely far-reaching and this time
probably permanent reform of Parliament for far too long. Parliamentary
reform should not be the plaything of a single party in power.
The Lord Chancellor's model is of an 80 per
cent appointed House, with 20 per cent more chosen by closed list
selection, and laid on top of a House in which all existing life
peers, including the 245 created in the last four years, will
stay for life. I do not see this as a serious proposition in a
modern democracy, any more than the old House was. What I believe
we need is a House with the authority to act with confidence in
holding the executive to account and scrutinising legislation
in partnership with the House of Commons.
I still think the government was right in 1997
to propose a Joint Committee of both Houses. I hope even yet it
may change its mind. But I look forward to giving evidence, as
invited, to your Select Committee, which I hope will decide to
point the way to a more genuine reform than that now on the table.