07 March 2007

MPs vote to elect upper chamber

Unfortunately, not our MPs and not our upper chamber.

what House leader Jack Straw termed a "historic step forward," the British House of Commons voted 337 to 227 today for a fully elected House of Lords. They voted earlier, an overwhelming 416 to 163, to keep an upper chamber of some sort, then considered a series of options, culminating in the vote to fully democratize the place. Tony Blair's choice, a 50/50 split between elected and appointed members, was resoundingly defeated.

The vote is only advisory but does give a clear impression of what the MPs feel about the upper chamber. It will now be up to the government to decide whether of not to propose a Lords reform bill to Parliament. Such a bill might propose a change in the name of the chamber and probably propose election by proportional representation.

This is an item worth keeping an eye on, possibly precedent-setting for dealing with our own antiquated upper chamber.

1 comment:

  1. It will be interesting to watch. I'm a bit worried that an elected Senate wouldn't have the freedom to produce some of the more risky but nonetheless high quality research that our Senate has in the past (on marijuana decriminalization, for example) and that no other groups would be sufficiently neutral to replace that role. So it will be useful to monitor how their roles changes once elected in the UK. (Alhough I understand the histories are somewhat different between our Senate and that of Britain.)