Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
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The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Reforming the House Of Lords

change-671376_1920 Change is Overdue

It was often said about the anatomy of a bumble bee, when looked at its shape and size of wings, that they should not be able to fly, but do. There are lots of things like bumble bees that should not work but do, the House of Lords in the days before Tony Blair got his meddling mitts on it worked reasonably well. In those days the majority of members were hereditary peers.

Sadly, our ex grinning PM's idea of reforming the House of Lords was to throw out all but a very small number of hereditary peers to be, instead, stuffed full of Blair and Labour cronies and hangers on. Since then our upper house has not worked as well and often sees itself as a blocking mechanism to many things its members dislike such as Brexit, then anything else the Conservative Government tries to push through, as recently seen with the efforts to stop the Armada of small boats carrying illegal immigrants from one safe country, France, to another safe country, the UK. Once here they then try to claim asylum despite the fact under international law they should have claimed asylum in the first safe country they came to.

Along with left wing lawyers their Lordships have done their worst to block the Rwanda flights which would be a proven way to deal with this serious problem of illegal immigration. The Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking from his elevated place in the Lords put his unwanted tuppence worth in on this topic too. We have also seen their Lordships wreck the plans to ditch all retained EU laws, once again going against the democratic will of the electorate who voted in 2016 to escape the EU.

Back in the days before Blair set about wrecking the House of Lords and making it the House of Cronies, it consisted of 647 hereditary Peers, 537 life peers and 26 Bishops. As can be seen on the Parliament web-site. The reason the House of Lords worked pre the Blair wrecking spree was due to the high number of hereditary peers who knew their place. They knew that as they were not elected it was not their business to block legislation put forward by the House of Commons, which is the elected house, their duty was to scrutinise and amend the laws being made if they could see possible problems and improvements to those proposed laws.

Sadly, the House of Commons with its MPs looking over their shoulders to see the reactions of their constituents would often react to press hysteria and rush through badly made knee jerk legislation, the Dangerous Dogs Act being a prime example which resulted in toy poodles that barked at the postman being seized and destroyed. The House of Lords was meant to prevent bad laws being made, however, the House of Commons can overrule the Lords. Sadly, now the Lords is made up mostly of life Peers, the majority of them are left leaning, the deference the Hereditary Peers had to the Commons is now gone and has been replaced by people who see it as their duty not to help make good, workable legislation, but simply to be the awkward squad and to continually oppose the current Conservative Government - especially anything to do with Brexit and illegal immigration.

Going back over 100 years the Parliament Act of 1911 restricted the powers of the Lords to prevent them overriding the elected House of Commons. Due to Blair's meddling the Lords no longer works as well as it once did and there is much talk of making the Lords an elected chamber, which personally concerns me even though I am a strong believer in democracy. The Lords are currently bad enough now but at least not being elected does limit them, what happens when we have two elected and opposing chambers, both claiming legitimacy from the electorate? It will be virtually impossible to get legislation made and what will get through is likely to be an unworkable hodge-podge. Like many I have pondered how the Lords could be improved, should it be divided up into set numbers of people from industry, the various religions we now have in the UK, people working in health, the legal profession and ordinary members of the public, all who serve a five year term and are then replaced. How then are these people selected is another question? After pondering many possible options I have come up with just one solution, which sadly will be unpopular with many - bring back the hereditary peers and put the House of Lords back to where it was before Tony Blair destroyed it. 

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