Parliamentary Democracy

The preamble to the Parliament Act 1911 promised that we would move from membership here being based on the hereditary principle to the popular principle. We are still waiting for that reform 112 years later, although the coalition Government made a brave attempt at it, winning support from MPs by a majority of 462 to 124 for the Second Reading of a Bill which, if enacted, would by now have meant at least two rounds of elections for Members of this place. This failure came despite commitment to reform having been included in all three main UK parties’ manifestos at the previous general election.

As the parties now prepare their next manifestos, I hope they will pledge to stop the process of electing more hereditary peers, make the recommendations of the House of Lords Appointments Commission binding and spell out their proposals for proper reform here. The House of Lords Reform Bill 2012 would not be a bad start. The manifestos should also include proposals to ensure that we have an electoral system which means that when people vote in a general election, they get the MPs they vote for. Just 43% of those who voted in 2019 gave the Conservative Party an 80-seat majority. A more representative Parliament would have prevented much of what has gone wrong since then.

Read the full agenda here.

Watch more of Lord Rennard in Parliament.