How is increasing the number of unelected peers enhancing democracy?

September 08, 2016 ,

Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West) (Lab): The Leader of the House and I have something in common, in that we were both once contestants on “University Challenge”. If we were able to have a debate on enhancing democracy, how would he answer this starter for 10? Under what school of political logic do we enhance democracy by cutting the number of elected politicians and increasing the number of unelected peers?

Mr Lidington: As I said to the hon. Member for Newport West (Paul Flynn), I wish that there had been consensus on reform of the House of Lords in the previous Parliament, but that consensus was absent, and we are where we are. I doubt that opinion across the House of Commons has changed all that much since that abortive attempt at reform a few years ago.

The answer to the hon. Member for Cardiff West (Kevin Brennan) is that he really cannot evade the central point that we are now operating on electoral registers based on a census taken in 2001. They are very out of date, given the population changes that have taken place since then. It is also plainly wrong to continue with a situation in which constituency electorates are of such disparate sizes. That in practice means that there is gross inequality between the weight of votes of individual electors in different seats.

Kevin Brennan MP in Business Questions (Hansard Link)