Tuesday, March 6, 2012

House of Lords Reform - Things you should know

Of the 827 members of the House of Lords 22 have leave of absence, 3 are suspended (problems with expenses), 13 are disqualified as members of the judiciary and 1 is disqualified as an MEP.   Only approximately 130 are active members and these are mainly former politicians who were MPs, Council Leaders, etc.
<There are 92 hereditary Peers. The only other country in the world with a hereditary element in its legislature is Lesotho.
<There are 26 Bishops of the Church of England in the House of Lords.   They are all male. The Church of Scotland, The Church of Wales and the Church of Ireland are unrepresented as are all other faiths. There are only three other "democratic" countries in the World that have a theocratic element in their legislature. They are Iran, Israel and soon Syria.
<Just because you are an expert in say Human Fertilisation (Lord Winston) does not mean that you are more qualified than anyone else to legislate on defence, education, foreign affairs etc.
<79 Peers did not attend a single session of the House of Lords last year.
<When Tony Blair ceased to be Prime Minister over half the members of the House of Lords had been appointed by one man – Tony Blair.
<Other than the People’s Congress of China the House of Lords is the largest legislative body in the World.
<61 other countries have an elected second chamber.
<5 Peers with criminal convictions are members of the House of Lords – some are even in prison now.
<9 members of the House of Lords have never made a speech including Lady Falkender who was made a Peer in 1976
<Lord Heseltine has yet to make his maiden speech although he has been a member of the Lords for 11 years
<Divisions in the Lords tend to be decided not on the merit of an issue but by the timing of a vote, since independent cross benchers go home in the evenings.
<The Lords receive £300 per day attendance allowance – tax free.

<The Appointments Commission appoints on average 4 independent members to the House of Lords each year.   All other appointments are party political.

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