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House of Lords Should Be Replaced With Elected ‘Modern Second Chamber’: UK Labour Party


The House of Lords should be replaced with an elected “modern second chamber,” the UK’s main opposition Labour Party has said.

The House of Lords is the second chamber of the British Parliament. Its main job is to scrutinise and amend parliamentary bills proposed by the House of Commons before they pass into law.

The chamber, which dates back to the 14th century, remains unelected, with most of its members appointed on the recommendation of the prime minister or other party leaders.

Speaking to Sky News on Nov. 20, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “There is obviously great expertise in the House of Lords, of course, and there are very good people in the House of Lords, but we need to bring it into the 21st century. It needs to be a modern second chamber and therefore it should be elected.”

Epoch Times Photo
File photo of Evgeny Lebedev (L) and Boris Johnson attending a pre-lunch reception for the Evening Standard Theatre Awards at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London, on Nov. 23, 2009. (Ian West/PA)

‘Time Is Right’

Ashworth said “the time is right to democratise the House of Lords” at a time when “trust in politics is so low” as a result of the actions of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson has faced criticism over his appointment of British–Russian media mogul Evgeny Lebedev, whose father worked as a KGB agent, as a lifelong member of the upper house in July 2020.

Labour accused the government of a “cover-up” after ministers refused to release detailed security advice over the appointment following media reports alleging that the security services initially said Lebedev’s peerage could pose a national security threat, but withdrew the advice after Johnson personally intervened.

More recently, Johnson has faced accusations that he has proposed several Conservative MPs for peerages but told them to delay accepting them to prevent triggering by-elections.

‘Truly Representative’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said before that he would abolish the House of Lords if he becomes prime minister.

One of his 10 campaign pledges when he ran for party leader in 2020 was “abolish the House of Lords—replace it with an elected chamber of regions and nations.”

Epoch Times Photo
Labour leader Keir Starmer speaks during the TUC Conference at Brighton Centre in Brighton, England, on Oct. 20, 2022. (Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

According to The Observer newspaper, Starmer told Labour peers last week that he wold abolish the House of Lords and replace it with a new elected chamber as part of plans to “restore trust in politics.”

Labour would hold a consultation on the composition and size of a new chamber as well as more immediate reform of the appointments process, the paper reported.

Labour wants the new chamber to be “truly representative” of the UK’s nations and regions while still retaining its role as the second chamber in relation to the Commons, the report said.

The Epoch Times has contacted the government for its response to Labour’s plan.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Alexander Zhang

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