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House of Lords

Volume 560: debated on Tuesday 26 March 2013

As stated in the programme for government, appointments will be made to the House of Lords with the objective of creating a second Chamber that reflects the share of the vote secured by the political parties at the last general election.

The coalition Government have created 43 peers a year on average, more than the five previous Prime Ministers. The average will go up to 60 a year if the Minister’s direction of travel is followed. Does she see this as a badge of honour?

What I see is an avoidance of the reality of what happened after 2010, which was that the list of appointments contained the picks of the right hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Mr Brown) and Labour became the largest party in the Lords despite having lost the general election.

If the intention of House of Lords reform was to cut the number of Lords, is it not strange that we intend to increase the number instead of reducing it by half?

It is important to use facts in this debate. It might be of help to note that there has been a net increase of only 23 in the number of peers eligible to sit and vote in the other place since Tony Blair left office in 2007.

As part of the pre-legislative consultation on the draft Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, consideration has been given to the elimination of dual mandates not only between the House of Commons and the Northern Ireland Assembly, but between the House of Lords and the Assembly. What is the Minister’s view?

In September 2010, the Deputy Prime Minister said that the Government wanted to reduce the cost of politics. To date, 128 new peers have been appointed at a cost of £131,000 each per year, with more planned. Why are the Government no longer concerned about reducing the cost of politics?

The hon. Gentleman’s party refused to allow the timetable that would have allowed the Government to plan to instil greater legitimacy and constrain the size of the House of Lords. I think that answers his question.