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House of Lords Reform: A History

Volume 4. 1971–2014: The Exclusion of Hereditary Peers – Book 1: 1971–2001 – Book 2: 2002–2014

Peter Raina

Peter Raina’s magnificent history of Lords reform has already brought into the public domain a mass of original documents and thrown light on the debates they fuelled. In Volume 4 he brings his study up to the present age.
The Thatcher and Blair governments were both determined to shake up the system, and in such times the old House of Lords began to look more and more outdated. Mrs Thatcher’s inaction on the issue only increased calls for abolition or change. So the Blair government grasped the nettle. In one historic Act of Parliament it ejected hereditary peers from the House – except for 92 saved by a last-minute amendment. The negotiations and reactions surrounding this event are recorded here in lively detail.
This concluding book brings Peter Raina’s History of Lords’ Reform up to the end of 2014. It follows on from the banishment of hereditary peers from the House in the name of democracy. This was proclaimed as only the start of more sweeping change. What was to happen next?
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Chapter Five: 1995–97. Party and Public Discussion on Reform


← i. 274 | i. 275 →CHAPTER FIVE

1995–97. Party and Public Discussion on Reform

Three Routes to Reform: The Constitution Unit

A major contribution to the discussion on reform of the House of Lords was made by the Constitution Unit, a non-party organization set up in April 1995. In a long, well researched document it first described the state of the House of Lords in the twentieth century, and then produced a thorough synthesis of various theories of bicameralism and options for reform.1 At the end, the Unit proposed its own ‘Three Routes to Reform’. It is these that appear below.2

Routes to Reform

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