Oohhaaaaa !, down an octave there, CK – sounds like a Minister’s Filipino houseboy without the KY.
OK, exactly what is it that is proposed for the House of Lords ?
This from the Labour Party Manifesto1997:
“This will be the first stage in a process of reform to make the House of Lords more democratic and representative.”
I note, as you will, the word “more”
This document (extracted passage cited) was then presented to Parliament by Tony Blair in December 1998 ( http://www.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm41/4183/4183.htm )
The manifesto said that options for longer-term reform would be considered by a Joint Committee of both Houses. The Government has decided to build on this with a Royal Commission. The Joint Committee will then be asked to examine in more detail the Parliamentary aspects of any proposed reform. “
The ball bounces…… into Lord Wakeham’s hands. In his Report (example of commentary: http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/lords/Story/0,2763,194433,00.html ) Wakeham came up with over 120 possible reforms. Amongst the evidence was this Official Government representation to the Royal Commission:
“Mr Blair’s hostility to an elected second chamber which might challenge his own power and the primacy of the Commons was reflected in Labour’s evidence to the committee. It proposed an appointed upper house, a formula dismissed by the Wakeham panel as “far-fetched for the 21st century.”
Onwards goes our ball to the Joint Committee before arriving back with Blair and this weeks Labour Party Conference.
However, somewhere along the line, it seems much of the Labour Party membership has come to believe full democratization is on the agenda. This from last week ( http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/lords/Story/0,2763,371517,00.html ) :
“Tony Blair is facing defeat at next week’s Labour conference after a poll found that party members are overwhelmingly opposed to his decision to reject a fully elected House of Lords.”
I have to agree with ** TomH** that full democratization has probably never been on Blair’s agenda nor has it been stated as a clear aim of the Labour Party. However, the lack of specifics in official Labour Party policy has created a belief that such reform is an achievable aim. It is before the conference this week - one can only anticipate a lively debate. And of course, as with the London Mayoral election candidature, Blair does not always get his way. Interesting times.
(For anyone interested, Charter 88 have a wonderfully comprehensive resource on the subject at: http://www.charter88.org.uk/parliament/ )
With regard the Privy Council you’re absolutely right APB. Those sitting on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council need not be Law Lords –
“The members of the Committee are the Lord Chancellor and former Lord Chancellors, and other Privy Counsellors holding or having held high judicial office who have not attained the age of 75 years. The latter include past and present Lords of Appeal in Ordinary and Judges of the Court of Appeal in England and Wales, the Court of Session in Scotland and the Court of Appeal of Northern Ireland. Privy Counsellors who are holders or former holders of high judicial office in certain Commonwealth countries are also eligible to serve on the Committee.”
For whom the Privy Council is the ultimate Court of Appeal see:
- these days the list is somewhat diminished