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Why are Labour members not allowed to select Labour Peers?

Lords benches, pic: UK ParliamentLast week, it seems, rumours were circulating around the Westminster bubble about the possibility of Michael Cashman, being appointed to the House of Lords. He is of course well qualified in what matters in the Bubble, as a former Eastenders star and MEP, not to mention a longstanding member of Labour’s Blair-backed but misnamed Members First slate, generously funded to finance half-page press adverts, professional telephone canvassing and direct mail shots of party members. But who decides these things in the Labour Party?

The answer of course is the Leader, on the basis of confidential advice from his staff no doubt. All in keeping with the House of Commons Public Administration Committee’s recommendation for greater transparency in these matters. Not.

Why can’t Labour, which purports to be a democratic party, have a democratic process to choose Labour Peers, as we have for selecting candidates for all other public offices and representatives. The House of Lords has an important legislative role. The Lib Dems have had an elected panel of their conference representatives to nominate a list for years, from which their Leader chooses. The Green peers recently appointed were chosen by a ballot of their party members.What’s the problem?

OK, so we are committed to reform the Lords but there is no certainty that we won’t retain appointed members. The national policy forum recently agreed the following “consensual wording” as Labour’s new position:

Labour is committed to democratic reform of the House of Lords, making the second chamber fit for the 21st Century and representative of the nations and regions of the United Kingdom, using a proportional system. We will legislate to introduce an elected second chamber.

The new House will continue to revise legislation and scrutinise the Executive, while providing a forum for regional representation. The primacy of the House of Commons will be maintained through applying existing legislation, and by conventions confirmed by appropriate parliamentary mechanisms, or in statute.

These reforms will include the removal of the remaining hereditary peers.

Note the lack of commitment to 100% elected members. Note the regional/national representatives. And even if they are all eected (as I hope they will be), existing life peers sound like they will remain. All the more reason to choose them in an open, transparent and democratic manner.

6 Comments

  1. Robert says:

    Who cares any more.

    1. A N says:

      Labour Party members and those who vote Labour

      1. Robert says:

        I cannot stop laughing..

  2. James Martin says:

    Let the right-wing have their titles and ermine, why should we ask any comrades to sell their principles for a bum warming spot in that place?

    Complete abolition of the House of Lords and a very big broom to clear the lot of ’em out is the only demand socialists should be making about the whole rotten ant–democratic institution…

  3. ray davison says:

    I assume you are asking the question rhetorically for the answer is self-evident.This chamber of onanism has no place in the Party and Labour has made it a sheep’s pen of leche-cul.I agree with JM. Remember the end of Madame Bovary….

  4. Robert says:

    sadly the House of Lords has been abused by every dam Government since the start of time. Leaders have used it to get safe seats for new peoples they want or need, or if you give a big enough donation or your needed as a minister or your just paid the labour party a sum of money as in Union leaders.

    Labour loved to state last year one member one vote how about one seat one vote for the house of lords by the people for the people..

    As I said I cannot be bothered any more.

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