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< Back to question Should the House of Lords be abolished? Show more Show less

The role of the British Parliament’s second unelected chamber has been debated for a century to no avail. Despite minor reform in the late 1990s, the future of the House of Lords remains ambiguous at best. So what is the purpose of the House of Lords? Should it be left untouched, reformed, or ultimately abolished?

The House of Lords should be abolished Show more Show less

The House of Lords is irrelevant in modern life and detrimental to our democracy.
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The House of Lords is a relic from a bygone era

The House of Lords does not reflect the modern democratic nature of the UK. It fails to represent the current realities of British politics and governance, making it a remnant of an aristocratic past.
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The Argument

The House of Lords is an archaic institution. It reflects a period of time in British history when the country was ruled by absolute monarchy and run by the land-owning gentry. In the 21st Century, things could not be more different. The monarchy no longer has absolute power, the UK has universal suffrage, devolved assemblies and a devolved Parliament have been set up in Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, and the House of Commons is the supreme body that directs policy with the House of Lords relegated to an advisory chamber. As the UK has grown into a modern parliamentary democracy, the unelected House of Lords increasingly looks outmoded.

Counter arguments

The House of Lords continues to play an important role in revising and scrutinising legislation. The second chamber contains a number of experts who have a variety of experience and can recognise technical flaws in legislation. Without the distraction of regular elections or the increased work that comes with managing a constituency, peers have more time to devote to scrutinising and debating the Government's legislative program. The current political make-up of the Lords also means that the Government does not have a majority, making it in some senses the real opposition as it has the numbers to amend and defeat legislation, forcing the Government to rethink its approach.

Premises

[P1] The House of Lords was built to reflect the time in which it was created, a time before the UK was a democracy. [P2] It is no longer relevant, and therefore should be abolished.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] The House of Lords is not irrelevant - it performs an important role in keeping the legislature in check.

References


    This page was last edited on Wednesday, 3 Jun 2020 at 16:38 UTC

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