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Camera dei Lords - Dibattito sulla riforma Appunti scolastici Premium

Materiale didattico per il corso di Politica comparata del prof. Marco Giuliani. Trattasi della relazione del dibattito che ebbe luogo all'interno del parlamento britannico il giorno 13 marzo del 2007 ed avente riguardo le ipotesi di riforma della Camera dei Lords britannica.

Esame di Politica comparata docente Prof. M. Giuliani

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ESTRATTO DOCUMENTO

If one analyses the votes in the House of Commons last week, however, it is clear that the

official policy of the Conservative Party is not supported by a majority of Conservatives in the

Commons; nor, as I am sure we will find, is it supported by a majority of Conservatives in this

House. The Government’s preference is not supported by 128 to 188 Labour Members in the

House of Commons. We shall wait and see what happens on the Labour Benches in this House.

In reality, it would be completely absurd to reconvene that committee without having effective

representation of the views of the majority of each party in each House. We simply must sort

that out, because there will be no effective progress without it.

No doubt my noble friend Lord Strathclyde will make many points with which I agree—for

example, on the dangers of proportional representation and other issues. On the fundamental

issue of whether we should have elected Members of this House, however, it is clear that that

is not the case. If we are to move forward, we must follow the line which—to my surprise,

because I had not anticipated it coming immediately before my speech—was laid out by the

noble Baroness. We must sort this out. It is an unusual situation, but it is essential to do so.

13 Mar 2007 : Column 575

That is the immediate problem. The other problem is that there is much speculation in the

press that this will all be kicked into the long grass—Mr Gordon Brown, or whoever else

happens to become leader of the Labour Party, will not be keen to have a constitutional

confrontation in the first two years of their period in office—although it will turn up in the

manifestos. If there is one feature of our democratic system that is very doubtful, so far as

democracy is concerned, it is manifestos; they are agreed behind closed doors, there are no

free votes and one is stuck with them. It may be that at the next election the manifestos of all

three parties are in favour of an elected element. The Joint Committee will then have to

examine in great detail whether or not the Bill is a manifesto Bill. I hope that we will look again

at what the committee says, because the whole question of whether a manifesto Bill must not

be opposed in this House is rather doubtful.

I refer to one point in the committee’s report, when it qualified what it said about manifesto

Bills. It said that it offered no definition of a situation in which an attempt to defeat a Bill on

Second Reading would be appropriate, save that that would include free votes. I leave noble

Lords to consider the implications of that point in relation to manifesto Bills. It may well be

that, whatever the manifesto, there are those of us who would still feel that we ought to

oppose any elected element in this House.

It is important that we should not get to that stage. We should try to resolve this matter

before the next election. All that needs to be done is to have an Appointments Commission

that is not open to criticism in the way that the present system is. I also believe that the

continuation of the by-election system for hereditary Peers is not helpful to our overall

situation. Its removal and the establishment of a proper Appointments Commission are all that

is needed at present. Parliament is working very well now. One of my hereditary colleagues

said to me a little while ago that it is working better than it has done in the past 700 years,

and that is probably true. Therefore, while I am not in favour of the status quo—there are

changes that need to be made—the right approach is to oppose any elected Members of this

House. I shall vote for a wholly appointed Chamber, and oppose all the other options.

12.22 pm

Lord Livsey of Talgarth: My Lords, I agree with the previous two speakers on only one point:

you either have an appointed House or an elected House. I am not trying to curry favour with

people whose opinion is against an elected House. The principles are very important and

cannot be ignored. The democratic principles of a reformed second Chamber must surely rest

in the accountability of the membership through election and the legitimacy of a diverse

candidature to contest elections to this House. The elected Members must surely represent all

nations and regions of the United Kingdom, many of which are under-represented here at

present. Not only that, but they should be representative and inclusive of all social strata and

occupations. It must be a

13 Mar 2007 : Column 576

House, preferably a Senate, with no overall majority, identified with people of different political

philosophies and allegiances and of none.

I have always believed in an elected second Chamber, and after five and a half years here that

is still my view. The second Chamber must scrutinise and revise legislation; it must be

complementary to the House of Commons and not usurp its primacy. A substantial vote in the

House of Commons to have a 100 per cent elected House of Lords endorses that principle.

Arguments will rage over a number of issues. The first is whether the powers of the House of

Lords should be strengthened, diminished or remain unchanged. The second is the method of

election to the second Chamber. Other factors come into play. No party or grouping should

hold an overall majority in the House, as is widely accepted; indeed, it is incorporated into the

White Paper. The position of independent Cross-Benchers should be incorporated into the

second Chamber within an electoral system, and I do not believe that to be impossible. With

those caveats, I believe that it is possible to have a representative Senate to bolster

democratic accountability within the UK. To address some points that have just been made,

the primacy of the House of Commons will surely continue to be protected by the Parliament

Act.

If we take all these factors into account, the concept of an all-elected second Chamber now

has legitimacy through the indicative vote in the House of Commons. That concept has

certainly been endorsed by Liberals and Liberal Democrats for the past 100 years, though I

note from the voting in the other place that a majority of Conservatives still do not accept that

principle. It is my belief that we should get on with it, work out a fair electoral system for all

and at the same time, at least initially, retain the status quo so far as this House’s powers are

concerned in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. We would not then present a threat to the

House of Commons at this time.

It would be vital to incorporate an electoral system of proportional representation. I detect that

that is anathema to some noble Lords, but in fact it is enlightenment. Let us hope that they

learn that over time. I would prefer a single transferable vote system. If a list system is

introduced, it is crucial that open lists of candidates are deployed. Power must remain with the

electors and not with the political parties or factional interests. It is important that this should

be a parliamentary legislature that fairly represents all parts of the United Kingdom, including

a fair representation from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There will also be an

opportunity to create a gender balance in the Lords, which is best secured through an open-

list, single transferable vote system. That follows almost automatically.

Recent experiences in the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly show that closed

electoral lists have caused problems, especially as there has been a mix between first-past-

the-post elected Members and Members elected from a regional list. The perception of some is

that there have been two classes of Members; not only that, but the closed lists have

13 Mar 2007 : Column 577

specified which party member is nominated to get elected. I believe that these same

weaknesses would occur in a hybrid House in this Chamber. A single transferable vote system

gives the same status for all elected Members. Such equality is transparent, and an open list

ensures that those elected are the choice of the electors. That ensures that the legislature is


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DETTAGLI
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea in scienze internazionali e istituzioni europee
SSD:
Università: Milano - Unimi
A.A.: 2011-2012

I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher Atreyu di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Politica comparata e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Milano - Unimi o del prof Giuliani Marco.

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