House of Lords is outdated

Call the newsdesk on 01323 414488 or email eastbourne.herald@jpress.co.uk SUS-180130-143238001
Call the newsdesk on 01323 414488 or email eastbourne.herald@jpress.co.uk SUS-180130-143238001

From: Eleanor Dudley

Trinity Trees

I am writing to thank everyone who signed the petition calling for a referendum on abolishing the House of Lords, especially as it has now received enough signatures to have the matter debated in Parliament.

I believe that the House of Lords in its current form needs to be abolished not only because it is unelected (and therefore represents absolutely nobody) and with the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill having passed all its stages in the democratically elected House of Commons, unelected peers are now slowing down the process of getting the Bill into law by adding their own amendments about areas which are nothing directly to do with the aim of the Bill itself.

All this is wasting more time than there needs to be sending the legislation back to the House of Commons for reconsideration on a matter that has already been decided by the British people in the EU referendum.

It should be remembered that the EU (Withdrawal) Bill is actually about repealing the European Communities Act 1972, which mentions neither the Customs Union nor the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, which peers have recently supported amendments on.

And this is why it is time for the House of Lords to be abolished and, perhaps – depending on the options presented – replaced by an elected upper chamber.

For those who don’t know, there are currently over 800 peers, and according to the latest available figures (from the House of Lords Accounts), in July 2017 the Lords sat for just 12 days (with an average attendance of 7 days) at a cost to the British taxpayer of £1,908,507.07 (that’s an average of £2,424.12 for every single unelected peer), which may seem small in the grand scheme of things, but I believe that this money would be far more beneficial if it were to be spent on vastly more important things such as the NHS, housing and schools.

And it wouldn’t be so bad if most of them turned up every day rather than just sign in, collect their £300 attendance fee and travel expenses, then leave again without doing a stroke of work: for example, just 215 out of all peers attended every sitting in July 2017 - that’s just 26.32 per cent.

It staggers me that unelected peers should have such sway in British politics, especially on really important matters connected with the Constitution and the very way that this country is governed, and Brexit has put the issue of the House of Lords back in the public spotlight, raising the very serious question of whether the upper chamber in its present form still has a place in our modern democracy.

I personally think that the House of Lords is outdated and that it is frankly obscene that our democratically elected representatives are constantly being challenged by unelected peers.

It is therefore time that the British people were given the opportunity to democratically settle this matter once and for all.