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The Scottish National Party has said the need to reform the House of Lords is becoming increasingly acute as the UK government continues to appoint more and more peers.

Commenting ahead of a SNP debate on the House of Lords in the House of Commons today, the party – which has a long-standing position not to take seats in the Lords –  has said the unelected chamber continues to be an affront to democracy.

Martin Docherty MP, who secured the debate, commented:

‘’The House of Lords is an absurd, anachronistic legislature. It is full of over 800 unelected cronies and donors who are not accountable to the electorate, and who are given a peerage for life. The electorate have a right to expect something better in terms of how legislation in this country is scrutinised. That is what our debate is about today.

“Only the National People’s congress in China is bigger, and David Cameron seems intent on increasing the House of Lords further still. No other legislature has members deciding the laws of the country due to inheritance. Even in the 21st century we have reserved seats for Bishops and Archbishops. Peers can still turn up for their £300 tax free daily allowance and contribute absolutely nothing to debates – they can just take the money and run.

“Despite their utter irrelevance – Lords now want to try to influence the democratic debate on Scotland’s future – proposing a  House of Lords ‘Act of Union’. Lectures on the future of democracy in Scotland from the House of Lords shows just how out of touch they are.

“Over the last 50 years there have been various attempts to reform the powers of the House of Lords, all of which have failed.  There have been attempts to democratise it – only to have been rejected. We are now at the stage when the only way forward is to abolish the whole ridiculous institution and ensure that everyone passing the laws of the land are elected.

“I do believe a democracy as varied and of the size of the UK should have a revising chamber but this must reflect democratic traditions. There are numerous models around the world on how this could be achieved – and it is clear that the House of Lords is simply no longer fit for purpose.’’




Note for Editors:

Full text of Martin’s contributions during his debate is available here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2016-01-14a.1065.0#g1065.1


You can view the whole debate at: http://martindocherty.scot/video.html

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