Volume 4. 1971–2014: The Exclusion of Hereditary Peers – Book 1: 1971–2001 – Book 2: 2002–2014
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were both determined to shake up the system, and in such times the old House of Lords began to look more and more outdated.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?
Chapter Nine: 2001. Completing the Reform: A New White Paper
← i. 555 | i. 555 →CHAPTER NINE
2001. Completing the Reform: A New White Paper
In just five months, a team of efficient civil servants managed to draft the government’s White Paper, The House of Lords: Completing the Reform.1 It was then presented to parliament by the prime minister, Tony Blair, in November 2001. We reproduce the full text of the White Paper below.
Full Text of the White Paper
Foreword by the Prime Minister
A credible and effective second chamber is vital to the health of Britain’s democracy. The Government began reform of the House of Lords two years ago with the removal of the rights of the hereditary peers to an automatic seat in Parliament. At the same time we appointed a Royal Commission to consider the wider changes required for the Upper House to play its proper part in our modern Parliament.
The Royal Commission rightly set the issue of membership in the context of functions. It argued that Parliament does not require, and would be ill served by, a new second chamber seeking to challenge the role of the House of Commons as the pre-eminent voice and representative of the people. On the other ← i. 556 | i. 556 →hand Parliament does require, and would greatly benefit from, a second chamber better able to perform the roles of scrutiny and deliberation, holding the Government to account and probing its legislation and policies. The imperative is for...
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