Show Less
Restricted access

House of Lords Reform: A History

Volume 3. 1960-1969: Reforms Attempted

Peter Raina

Volume 3 of Peter Raina’s magisterial history covers the 1960s and draws on newly released documents. In astonishing detail, it traces new plans drawn up during the Macmillan-Wilson era to reform the House of Lords. ‘Mission impossible,’ a civil servant declared. But when, to remain a Commons MP, Tony Benn insisted on disclaiming an inherited peerage, he started off a fresh willingness to tackle old problems. The Peerages Act 1963 allowed peers the option of disclaimer and, at last, gave equal rights in the Upper House to Scottish and women inheritors.
A Labour government came in, and in 1967 gained the majority needed to embark on bold legislation. But it feared interference, so comprehensive plans were backed for changing the whole complexion of two-chamber politics. Led by Lord Shackleton and the intellectual Richard Crossman, schemes were devised and inter-party talks got under way – at first in a spirit of cooperation. But had the party elites listened to their fiery back-benchers? When a bill was introduced into parliament, the scenes were unforgettable …
This volume tells not just the story, but reveals the intricate thinking of those who wanted to make a bicameral system work in the age of modern party politics.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 12: 1967. The Cabinet: Proposed Reform of the Lords


← 276 | 277 → CHAPTER TWELVE

1967. The Cabinet: Proposed Reform of the Lords

The cabinet was to meet on 7 September 1967 and one of the items of business to be considered at this meeting was the proposed reform of the House of Lords. The prime minister had to have the proposals beforehand. And these were delivered to him on 5 September.

Burke Trend to the Prime Minister1

5 September 1967

Report of the Ministerial Committee on the Powers of the House of Lords

C(67) 145

The report of the Ministerial Committee, which was set up in accordance with the Cabinet’s previous decision (CC/66, 32nd Conclusions, Minute 2) to work out proposals for abolishing the Lord’s powers to delay Bills and reject subordinate legislation is annexed to the Lord Chancellor’s memorandum.

The Committee’s Report

The Cabinet previously decided that the question of the composition of the Lords should not be reopened in this connection. On this assumption, after considering a number of alternatives, the Committee conclude that:

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.