Labour recently announced that any new peers it nominates must commit to abolishing the House of Lords. In this post, Pete Dorey discusses Labour’s track record on Lords reform and why the party has failed to enact serious reforms when in government, arguing that the subject has suffered from a lack of intra-party consensus and a lack of serious interest in reform at ministerial level.
By Jacqui Smith and Kristen Sample
Women account for half of the global population, yet represent less than a quarter of the world’s parliamentarians. The causes behind this imbalance are myriad and multi-faceted, based on culturally rooted gender norms, political institutions, and economic disparities. In other words, a woman who is elected to parliament has beaten the odds.
By Peter Dorey
House of Lords reform remains unfinished business, and looks likely to remain so for a long time yet. The preamble to the 1911 Parliament Act portentously proclaimed that Lords reform was ‘an urgent question which brooks no delay’, yet more than a century later, there have been only sporadic and inchoate reforms. Moreover, these have often been motivated by calculations of partisan advantage, even when depicted as being derived from important political principles. After the 1911 Act, the remainder of the twentieth century witnessed only three further laws pertaining to House of Lords reform: the 1949 Parliament Act, which reduced the Second Chamber’s power of delay (veto) of legislation from two years to one; the 1958 Life Peerages Act, which established a new category of appointed peer to sit alongside the hereditary peers; the 1999 House of Lords Reform Act, which removed most of the hereditary peers, but allowed 92 to remain pending further reform.
By Jake Watts
Ralph Miliband’s Parliamentary Socialism celebrates its 55th anniversary this year. A key historical work, it examined the relationship between the Labour Party and the UK Parliament. From a Marxist perspective, it argued that the failure of the British Left to achieve radical strides towards unadulterated socialism could be in substantial part attributed to the acquiescence of the Labour Party to the rules and norms of the United Kingdom’s parliamentary democracy. In putting forth such an argument, Miliband struck at the heart of a debate about the relationship between Labour and Parliament that underpins the disunity that now threatens the party’s efficacy as Her Majesty’s Opposition.