SEAN BLACKMAN: Time to go, my lord?
There was a time when it was only Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians demanding reform in the House of Lords.
But when North East Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, the so-called ‘honourable member for the 18th century’, starts calling for reform, you know the House of Lords is in trouble.
The House of Lords is the second chamber of the parliament – with the House of Commons as the first chamber – and shares the task of making and shaping laws and checking and challenging the government’s work.
Because of its undemocratic make-up of hereditary and life peers (who are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the prime minister), and 26 Bishops in the Church of England, the value of the 800 members, who are eligible to take part in the House of Lords, has consistently been a subject of debate.
While the Lords, apart from exceptional circumstances, cannot prevent bills passing into law, their regular reviews and amendments to bills coming from the Commons can severely hamper the government’s business.
This goes some way to explain the current crisis.
At present, the House of Lords has inflicted defeat after defeat on the government on the EU Withdrawal Bill and has been seen as an affront to democracy.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has warned that the House of Lords is playing with fire by trying to block Brexit and it is now a case of the ‘peers against the people.’
Speaking in parliament, at an event organised by the Open Europe think tank, Rees-Mogg said peers ‘have to decide whether they love ermine or the EU more.’
Like most families, ours was divided over Brexit.
Some voted to remain and some voted to leave the EU.
None of us were fooled by the propaganda from either side and made decisions based upon our own convictions.
It truly was a people’s referendum, engaging more of the UK population than ever before.
Nevertheless, regardless of the way you voted, many believe Labour MP Caroline Flint’s stance is the right one.
Flint has consistently maintained the conviction she held when she posted on her blog on September 11, 2017,
‘In June 2016, the British people voted for the UK to leave the European Union. Since that vote I have argued that the UK should accept that result, and work for the best outcome.’
In my view, the undemocratic make-up of the House of Lords need to listen up because democracy is speaking.
Otherwise, the public may say they have had enough of the House of Lords and abolish.
Do they really want people to say, ‘Time to go, my Lord’?