Charles Walker calls for reduction in size of House of Lords
Speaking in a debate on the increasing size of the unelected House of Lords, Charles Walker outlines simple steps that could be taken to reduce the numbers to a parity with the House of Commons.
Mr Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con)
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that we should reduce the size of the House of Lords and that we could do so simply? We could get rid of 21 of the 26 bishops, along with 92 hereditary peers, and we could have mandatory retirement, whereby peers retire after 20 years—this would be based not on age, but on length of service. That would easily take care of 212-plus peers and the House of Lords would be smaller than House of Commons.
I say to the hon. Gentleman, whose interest in this issue I recognise, that that would be a start but that much more needs to be done to address the anomalies of the political circus down the corridor. I take the point made by the hon. Member for Lichfield (Michael Fabricant). He is right to say that there are people serving in the Lords who are technocrats and the great and the good. These people have been appointed by the independent Lords Appointments Commission, but they are a tiny minority. The House of Lords tries to project this image of itself as inviting in the great and the good to help us with our legislation, but the overwhelming majority of the membership of that House is appointed by a Prime Minister from the list supplied by the leaders of the UK parties. That is why we find the cronies, the placemen, the donors and the failed or former MPs.