By Bob Duncan

Plans to create at least 80 new life peers will mean that the Scottish public will be responsible for electing fewer than 4% of Westminster parliamentarians.

Despite the election manifestos of the three largest Westminster parties pledging reform of the House of Lords, the proposals are expected to take membership of the unelected chamber from the current 760 to at least 840, meaning that the Scottish electorate will be responsible for electing just 3.95% of decision makers at Westminster, or less than one in every 25.

There are already 110 more unelected Lords than there are MPs and 701 more unelected Lords than there are MPs from Scottish constituencies. 

Assuming there is no reform before the end of this parliament, any further lists – which traditionally get drawn up before and after a general election – could easily take the total over 1,000.

This is particularly embarrassing for the Lib Dems, who championed reform of the House of Lords within the coalition.  Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott, a former member of the joint committee of both houses on Lords reform, said:

"Stuffing the Lords up to 900 now would be a disgrace to democracy, utterly against our principles, and make a mockery of our campaign to clean up and reform British politics.

"How can we possibly excoriate personal patronage and a bloated house of Lords, then cynically U-turn and do just what we've been condemning just a few weeks earlier? Trust in politicians is already hanging by a thread – this would sicken Liberal Democrats and reformers in all parties and none."

Another Lib Dem peer and reform campaigner, Lord Anthony Greaves, said further appointments would even anger existing peers because there were already so many members of the house that they could not easily find seats.

The SNP does not take seats in the House of Lords because of the system's undemocratic and anachronistic nature.  The only other country in the world with an unelected second chamber is Lesotho.

Describing the plans as "ludicrous" SNP MSP Linda Fabiani said they "will make a bad situation even more farcical".

Ms Fabiani added: 

"It is completely unjustifiable for Westminster to still be operating an unelected and undemocratic second chamber in this day and age.

“A situation where people in Scotland are only able to elect fewer than 4% of the parliamentarians at Westminster is an insult to democracy.

“It is hugely embarrassing for the three biggest Westminster parties as they are all set to abandon their manifesto commitments on Lords reform and instead make Westminster even more undemocratic.

“How on earth can they square their previous statements with plans to create a swathe of new unelected Lords?

“Decisions affecting Scotland should be made by people 100% elected in Scotland and these moves make completely clear that this will only be achieved with a Yes vote for an independent Scotland in 2014.”


# Piemonteis 2012-11-26 23:05
A funny slant to take on the story. Surely the representation of all nations and regions in the UK will go down as a result of the number of unelected peers being increased.

What does it say for a State though, when such a system of unelected representation goes virtually unchallenged in the elected chamber? And the Labour party's support for an unelected House of Lords is an indication of the self-serving conservatives they have proven they have proven themselves to be at all levels of government.
# cxjones 2012-11-26 23:14
There's an error in this.... Canada has a wholly appointed second house too.
# Grenscot 2012-11-26 23:26
Quoting cxjones:
Err there's an error in this.... Canada has a wholly appointed second house too.

Appointed yes, but the seats are allocated on a regional basis, which is the point of this article
# Edna Caine 2012-11-26 23:19
"Another Lib Dem peer and reform campaigner, Lord Anthony Greaves, said further appointments would even anger existing peers because there were already so many members of the house that they could not easily find seats"

Aw diddums.

Is there a word for when reality goes beyond the potential of satire?
# bodun 2012-11-27 03:06
Yes, that word is Scotlandshire.
# Breeks 2012-11-27 07:07
I have faith in the direction Scotland appears to be heading. Even if my own ideals aren't fully delivered, I remain confident that an independent Scotland will be a much better place.
I like England & London, but increasingly, I cannot seem to connect with their mindset.
Scotland is reaching out to embrace new technologies like renewable power to build for the future, whereas England seems determined to resist change.

It seems to me that England has no confidence in its own future. It's not facing up to the changes it needs to make. I don't believe nuclear power is a step forward. Exiting the EU is not a step forward. Trident is not a step forward. Private medicine is not a step forward. PFI is not a step forward.

The more reform of the Lords is needed, they tighter they seem to hold on to it. England is too preoccupied with losing former status. They seem determined to be dogged in retreat rather than bold in facing their future.
# bringiton 2012-11-27 16:27
They are in retreat because their expectations are being managed by the establishment.
The UK is in steady decline from empire to small offshore island whose only influence is acting as proxy for USA interests in the EU and elsewhere.
And now since Europe is no longer the focus of attention for the USA even that importance is in decline.
Hard for the Westminster establishment to accept that it is no longer of any importance(exce pt to itself).
# Roll_On_2011 2012-11-27 07:29
We were promised by the incoming Coalition Government:

1. The House of Lords would be reformed.
2. The number of MP’s cut from 650 to 600.
3. ‘Right to recall’ MP’s - where the electorate have the opportunity to vote out misbehaving MP’s.

All the above have been dropped.

This means the only parliamentary reform to be passed before the next General Election will be a reduction in MPs' working hours.

It appears that both our elected and none-elected political elite have got their priorities correct.

It’s time to get rid of the ‘dead wood’. Vote YES in 2014
# Embra 2012-11-27 07:40
Apologies for O/T, Well worth a watch for anyone who didn't see this..
# UpSpake 2012-11-27 08:06
4% of Lords a-leaping.
# X_Sticks 2012-11-27 09:46
UK Democracy!

What an FN joke.

The sooner we bin this bunch of leather seat polishers the better.

The "Scottish" lords have done more damage to Scotland for their own benefit than any tory party.
# Seagetagrip 2012-11-27 09:54
Doubtless the intended increase in numbers will be used as a fund raiser for the Unionist parties. Nothing new there then.
# mutterings 2012-11-27 10:52
Plans to create at least 80 new life peers will mean that the Scottish public will be responsible for electing fewer than 4% of Westminster parliamentarian s.

This is only true if none of the new peers will be Scottish. Although this may be quite likely, the article gives no explanation. It would be great if links to sources of information were given.

[Admin - Scottish or not they will be unelected - ergo the article is accurate.]
# RTP 2012-11-27 10:56
Well worth a read.

Westminster passes the Alien Act 1705

At Westminster on 29 November 1704, Lord Godolphin, the Lord High Treasurer, explained to the House of Lords why Queen Anne had approved the Scottish Act of Security - which preserved the Kirk, trade and the gains of the 1688 Revolution in Scotland.

He said the Act contained some undesirable elements, but it was essential that any Scottish threat to England's safety should be neutralised.
# Davy 2012-11-27 11:01
How bloody much does it cost to keep 760 lords on tax payers money ? It is ridiculous that they are even thinking of increasing the numbers of these hangers-on, any taxpayer must surely think what a complete waste of money the house of Lords is.

The quicker Scotland gets away from that bunch of fat cats the better.

Vote YES, Vote Scotland.
# pmcrek 2012-11-27 12:58
Is it true you are only elligable if your parents are cousins?
# connect2 2012-11-27 17:39
But don't you get it?
Those who have shown loyalty to the Establishment, who have supported the increase in poverty, the growth in the Westminster bubble, the watering down of democracy, the non-redistribution of wealth and the privatisation of the English NHS must be rewarded with a comfy seat and freebies.

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