LONDON: Membership of the House of Lords could be almost halved under proposals to replace peers with elected members, reports BBC. The Financial Times says a cross-party working group is considering if there should be fewer than 400 represented in a reformed upper chamber.
Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who is leading the review, has said a “comprehensive reform package” would be in Labour’s next election manifesto. A White Paper of proposals is due to be published before the summer recess. Last year MPs voted for either a wholly or 80% elected upper chamber.
The Lords want to keep the current system of an all-appointed membership. The FT reports that there was still debate over whether hereditary peers would be removed from the house immediately and the details of election to the new chamber. A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “We will be bringing forward proposals for House of Lords reform in due course. We hope to publish a White Paper before the summer recess.”
Last summer, Straw said he was committed to reform but conceded there was still “some way to go” and stressed the need for consensus. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats both supported reform of the Lords.-SANA