Football scuppers Lords vote on environmental protection

I love watching a good game of football, but I would never let that stand in the way of voting through environmental protections in the Lords. I’m furious that a ‘cross party’ group of peers have convinced Lord Krebs to drop the amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill today, just so that we can reach the amendment on giving the commons a meaningful vote before the game starts. Quite simply, the opposition whips were afraid that their peers would leave, while the Rugby and Cricket loving Conservatives stayed. This is no way to run Parliament and it’s time we replaced the Lords with an elected second chamber. Continue reading “Football scuppers Lords vote on environmental protection”

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Withdrawal Bill debate shows why we need Lords reform

One of the surprises of life in the Lords is that our laws are partly decided by the bar room stamina of government supporting peers. The Lords defeated the government three times yesterday over the charter of fundamental rights and also earned a good concession from them over the protection of public health. The Opposition was on a roll and not one of the peers in the chamber got up to speak against the amendments sponsored by green NGOs to retain the EU’s environmental protections and principles. No one opposed, but vast numbers of Conservative peers were hanging out in the bars and restaurants, waiting for their whips to call them to vote. In the end, the Minister rose, made concessions and the amendment was withdrawn. Continue reading “Withdrawal Bill debate shows why we need Lords reform”

Fewer Lords is no guarantee of improved efficiency

A recent report by the Electoral Reform Society says that 115 peers claim £1.3m despite not speaking in Lords for nine months. I’m happy to say that I’m not one of them. I spoke nearly a hundred times last year and as the only Green in the room (the only Green Party peer), I’m in a unique position to raise issues that are often ignored. From civil liberties to the use of pesticides, I can influence what issues are discussed. Continue reading “Fewer Lords is no guarantee of improved efficiency”

Brexit makes Lords reform essential and urgent

I have written to every member of the Lords outlining the reasons why they should support the transformation to a democratically elected second chamber. This would use proportional representation to elect a new house, but keep many existing peers as non-voting experts.

This is the first Bill to come from the Lords with this mix of proposals. I’m not the only Lord who wants to abolish their right to vote in the second chamber, but I’m aiming to be one of the most energetic peers in making it happen. I’m relatively new to the Lords and I hope my fresh approach will help fast track the various discussions about Lords reform. Continue reading “Brexit makes Lords reform essential and urgent”