The Electoral Reform Society has expressed disappointment at the news that David Cameron has appointed 16 Peers in his resignation honours list, making the second chamber more bloated and costly than ever….reports Asian Lite News
“For a Prime Minister who promised to cut the cost of politics, David Cameron is leaving a big bill for the taxpayer as he leaves office,” said Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society. His parting gift of 16 Lords is a sorry legacy, both in terms of cost to the taxpayer and the quality of our democracy.
“Mr Cameron’s Lords legacy could have been about real, democratic reform. Instead, he has unfortunately chosen to follow the well-trodden route of every other PM and packed the second chamber with former politicians, donors and party hacks. These unelected peers will cost the taxpayer millions over the long term – hardly a fitting goodbye.
“In Mr Cameron’s time in office he appointed Peers at a faster rate than any Prime Minister in Britain’s history – with 190 new unelected peers in the space of just six years. He says he regrets not achieving House of Lords reform , but actions speak louder than words. Calling time by waiving his right to introduce swathe of new peers could have set down a marker for the new government to take the House of Lords in hand and get to work on reforming our bloated and out-of-date upper house.
“However, we now have a new government with a potentially new agenda – let’s get to work on fixing this unaccountable and expensive anomaly once and for all. The House of Lords is in urgent need of reform – it’s archaic, unrepresentative and oversized. It should be a priority for the new government to sort out this mess once and for all. The public want to ‘take back control’ – a good way to start would be to let them choose who votes on their laws.”
The Electoral Reform Society’s ‘Fact vs Fiction’ report on the House of Lords, which showed:
- The cost of the Lords– In the 2010-2015 parliament, £360,000 was claimed by Peers in years they failed to vote once. In the last Parliamentary session alone, over £100,000 was claimed by Peers who did not vote at all.
- Independence– In the 2014-15 session nearly half (45%) of all Crossbenchers participated in 10 or fewer votes – compared to an average of just 8% of party political Peers, while a quarter of appointments to the House of Lords between 1997 and 2015 were former MPs.
- Professional politicians– Over a third of Lords (34%) previously worked in politics. Just 1% come from manual backgrounds.
- A supersized House– to rebalance the upper chamber strictly in line with the 2015 General Election results would require the appointment of an additional 723 members.
- Out of date– 44% of Lords list their main addresses in London and the South East, while 54% are 70 or older.