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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 reformed Show more Show less

While the aim of the House of Lords is positive, it does not serve us in its current form.
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The House of Lords should be replaced with a Senate of the regions

Instead of the second chamber being wholly unrepresentative of the UK, it should be replaced with a Senate who can represent the UK.
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The Argument

The House of Lords is not only undemocratic but unrepresentative of the country itself. Nearly a quarter of its members are over the age of 80, it has low numbers of women and ethnic minority peers, most of its members are independently wealthy, and over half of peers claim residency in London and the South East. As part of wider reforms to make parliament more reflective of a modern democracy in the 21st century, the House of Lords should be replaced with an elected Senate made up of members from every nation and region. This would give the second chamber legitimacy and an elected mandate to challenge the Government of the day.

Counter arguments

The House of Lords continues to perform an important role scrutinising government legislation. It's membership, predominately experts, ensures that it can properly assess the technical merits of different pieces of legislation. While the life appointment of its members ensures that the Lords is removed from partisanship and sits outside of the narrow debates found in the House of Commons. Replacing the House of Lords with an elected Senate would run the risk of simply replicating the House of Commons and removing any expertise. With both chambers claiming electoral mandates, it could lead to the kind of political deadlock that is frequently found in Congress in the United States of America.

Premises

[P1] The current House of Lords is unrepresentative of the UK population. [P2] It should be replaced with a Senate, so that it is more representative of the whole UK while maintaining its function as a check on the legislature.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] This would defeat the purpose of the House of Lords.

References


    This page was last edited on Friday, 17 Apr 2020 at 11:48 UTC

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