Statement from Unlock Democracy
Contact: Pete Mills (0207 2784443)
Today the government published Lord Strathclyde’s review of the powers of the House of Lords, which recommends that the Lords’ power to reject secondary legislation be replaced with the power to send back secondary legislation once to the Commons for a vote, after which it would be passed automatically. This would significantly weaken the powers of the House of Lords in relation to secondary legislation, which typically receives little or no scrutiny in the House of Commons.
Commenting on the publication of the Strathclyde review of the powers of the House of Lords, Alexandra Runswick, Director of Unlock Democracy, said:
“This review of the Lords is a blatant power grab by David Cameron. It will hand power to the government, not the House of Commons and certainly not to voters. The government should not be able to rush through major changes to the law without proper scrutiny.
Ministers are already being told to use secondary legislation to dodge proper debate. Eliminating the Lords’ veto power will remove a last resort check on government abuse of this type of legislation.
The real way to fix the Lords is to elect it. The Lords does important work improving legislation but it is held back by its undemocratic, unaccountable nature. The real solution to unchecked government power is a second chamber elected using a fairer voting system. An elected Lords would have a clear mandate to hold the government to account. ”