Thank you to all those who have contacted me in support of reforming the House of Lords.
There is clearly a good case for reform, with concerns being raised by the House of Lords Appointments Commission about more than one appointment during the current Parliament. Moreover, questions have been asked about whether the House of Lords is sustainable at its current size of almost 800 Members. In the long-term, I would like to see a reformed second chamber.
However, I respect that there are other perspectives on this issue. I note, for example, that the current Lord Speaker has argued that carefully considered changes have proven easier to enact than more radical suggestions. In a speech in December 2022, he called for constructive engagement that can deliver the widest possible consensus. It is true that where previous attempts to reform the House of Lords have proceeded without consensus, such as in 2012, those efforts did not succeed.
As you may know, the Opposition established a Constitutional Commission in 2020, chaired by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. That commission reported in December 2022. It made a range of suggestions about House of Lords reform and the devolution of power. The Leader of the Opposition has pledged to examine these suggestions and consult on next steps in the run up to the next general election.
By contrast, since the current Government came to power in 2010, the only reform to the House of Lords came about through a backbench-sponsored Act of Parliament in 2014. This reform allowed Members of the House of Lords to retire. The current Government has given no clear indication that it is open to further reforms.