If you haven’t noticed it yet, there is deep concern about the government’s cronyism, greed, and undemocratic practices. Today, even the Speaker of the House of Lords raised the alarm. Is anyone listening?

First published in December 2020.

Lord Speaker - Normal Fowler
Lord Speaker of the House of Lords since September 2016.

My response to the announcement today that @10DowningStreet has appointed 16 new peers to the @UKHouseofLords:
My fundamental concern is about the number of new peers that have been appointed by the Prime Minister in his first 12 months in Office.

Mr Johnson has added 16 to his list of appointments bringing the total for the year up to 52 new peers over two lists. This list will bring the total in the House of Lords to over 830 - almost 200 more than the House of Commons.

I will not comment on the personalities involved, although perhaps I could personally welcome @JohnSentamu. But my concern remains that the central defect is the present system of appointments.

The House of Lords. | Instagram - UK Parliament

Unlike other senates in democratic countries, there is no limit on the number of members there can be. Any Prime Minister can appoint as many as he or she likes. To her great credit the previous Prime Minister, @theresa_may, committed her govt to a policy of ‘moderation.’

In a massive U-turn, those words seem to have been forgotten. It may also now be the time to review the role and the powers of the House of Lords Appointments Commission (HOLAC.)

The number of appointments now being made also run smack against the recommendations of the Burns committee on the size of the House that was overwhelmingly endorsed by the House of Lords. The committee recommended that numbers should be reduced to 600.

To add insult to injury, for the second time the announcement of new peers has been made when Parliament is not sitting.

Sometimes the Lords itself is blamed for a failure to change. My answer to that is- don't blame the Lords, blame successive governments who have avoided the subject.

The reply has been that change is ‘not a priority’. It is possible that with the last two lists, the public may now disagree.

Further Reading:


Check their Voting Record:

🗳️ Boris Johnson

🗳️ Theresa May

[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 22 December 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the author’s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

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