YP Letters: Political patronage stacks Lords with cronies

From: Robert Bottamley, Thorn Road, Hedon

How should the House of Lords be reformed?

LORD Faulkner has been an influential figure at the seat of government and power for a good many years. Never elected, and owing his position entirely to patronage and appointment, it is perhaps unsurprising that he should favour an appointed House of Lords (The Yorkshire Post, September 10).

Prime Minister Tony Blair promised to reform the Lords. Instead, he appointed former Labour MPs whose support could be relied on. David Cameron’s administration responded in kind on behalf of the Conservatives.

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Consequently, former ministers from one political party or another dominate the second chamber. It is their faces we see most frequently; it is their voices we hear most often and most stridently, rather than those of the apolitical experts referred to by Lord Faulkner

Conservative and Labour administrations both have attacked the Lords for behaving unconstitutionally by blocking legislation. MPs in government sing the second chamber’s praises providing it wags its tail: if it barks, they like it rather less.

The Labour peer’s argument that an appointed second chamber reduces party-political influence is deeply unconvincing: it is rooted more in theory than in reality.