Saturday , August 19 2017


A HIGHLY respected and influential expert on the British constitution has laid the blame for the current "stuffed" state of the House of Lords at the feet of David Cameron, describing him as “completely incontinent” on the issue.

Constitutional expert blames ‘completely incontinent’ Cameron for state of ‘stuffed’ Lords

Robert Hazell, who is the Professor of Government and the Constitution at University College London (UCL) and specialises in constitutional reform, often advising a number of Government Select Committees, has blasted the former Conservative Prime Minister.

Prof Hazell, speaking to the Express.co.uk, said: “If you’re looking for someone to blame it was David Cameron’s fault. He was completely incontinent, stuffing the House.

“Let’s hope [current Prime Minister] Theresa May can be more disciplined.”

The comments come after various voices have called for urgent reform of the upper House in light of the attempt by some peers to impose amendments.

Backbench Labour MP Paul Flynn told a hearing of the Commons Political and Constitutional Affairs Committee last week that the Lords “cannot be respected any more as a Second Chamber.”

He added: “The position of the Lords is one that is indefensible in so many ways – the number of peers, the fact it is possible to buy a place in the Lords if you contribute enough (money) to any of the three main parties, it over-represents London and under-represents Scotland – and that’s going to get worse … all the problems that arise, all the illogical things that come from it. We’re all stuck with that now.”

If you’re looking for someone to blame it was David Cameron’s fault. He was completely incontinent, stuffing the House

Robert Hazell, Professor of Government and the Constitution at University College London

SNP MP Ronnie Cowan also backed Mr Flynn, saying the upper House should be replaced by an elected second Chamber.

Businessman Arron Banks, an influential figure and financial backer for Ukip, has also indicated that the party could abolish the Lords entirely. He recentlt said: “It’s wrong that people receive vast sums of money just because their parents are rich.”

Defenders of the current system have not been helped in their argument by one peer recently moaning that their daily allowance of £300 was: “That’s all we get.”

Under Mr Cameron’s administration between May 2010 and July 2016 the Oxford-educated Tory appointed a sizeable 189 peers over his time as Prime Minster, boosting the total number of peers to 804.

Back in 1999 there were about 650 members.

Mr Cameron was not only attacked for simply the number of appointments he made but also who he gave honours to, as well.

In his controversial resignation honours list he included Laura Wyld, head of the “Prime Minister’s Appointments”, whose job at Downing Street involved helping nominate individuals for honours, and Mr Cameron’s director of external affairs Gabby Bertin.

The House of Lords is now the second largest upper house in the world, only behind Japan, and many see it as being bloated and in need of reform.

However, Prof Hazell indicated that as well as the Lords already underway in trying to reform itself he also indicated that in reality there was only so much they could do themselves.

Prof Hazell said: “The Lords are doing what they can and the new Speaker Lord Fowler is introducing reforms.

“Lord Fowler is looking to bring in more voluntary redundancies.

“Ultimately, there is not a lot they can do. Once you are given a peerage you are a peer for life.”

Lord Fowler, who was Secretary of State for Social Services for six years under Margaret Thatcher, said in September last year that the the House should be trimmed by at least 200 members.

He said in an interview with The House magazine: “I don’t think that we can justify a situation where you have over 800 peers at the same time as you’re bringing down the Commons to 600 MPs.

“The principle, it seems to me, is that we should have fewer Lords. We should certainly not have more peers than there are Members of Parliament. I think that’s a principle that would probably find agreement amongst most of the House.”

Posted on; Express.co.uk>>

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