From: Coun Stewart Golton, Chair, Yorkshire & Humber Liberal Democrats.
I’M afraid Tom Richmond has picked the wrong target when he accuses Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords of double standards (The Yorkshire Post, November 19). He should perhaps look a little closer to home for that, and reflect on his own arguments.
He implies that because Lib Dems want a fully elected Second Chamber, we shouldn’t try to work within the archaic institution that is there to do political business.
He might recall that we tried to get reform of the House of Lords through Parliament, but were blocked by an unholy alliance of Tory and Labour MPs that blocked it.
It suited the two establishment parties very nicely to hold onto a system where they could reward donors and cronies who might not want to actually participate in the Parliamentary process. Tom Richmond highlighted himself the petulant Lord Lloyd- Webber’s recent complaints at being asked to turn up to vote.
His main gripe seems to be that because we have so few seats in the Commons, then our 100 peers over-represent us. Ironically, given that there are 800+ Lords, our group far better represents the voting preference of the electorate than the equally archaic House of Commons.
We are a party that believes that a strong partnership with our European neighbours keeps us more secure and prosperous (ever more so in a world with Trump and Putin pulling the levers of the old superpowers). If Theresa May is serious about her intention of putting Great Britain in a strong position outside the European Union, then she needs to balance the aspirations of the 48 per cent who saw value in close co-operation, alongside the 52 per cent that felt it had gone too far.
The deal she strikes need to protect the ability of our businesses to provide jobs and the taxes that keep our public services running, rather than protect her party’s prospects of holding on to their seats in 2020.
Any Brexit deal needs to look after the interests of Yorkshire. Lord Newby, the Lib Dem leader in the Lords, grew up in the mining town of Rothwell. Lord Scriven & Baroness Pinnock were council leaders in Sheffield and Kirklees, and know the consequences of underfunded services and job losses to our area. If Brexit really means taking more decisions for ourselves, then believe in the sovereignty of Parliament, however imperfect, and respect our Parliamentarians who take their job seriously.