The House of Lords

Conservatives Plot Against Democratic Reform

Conservatives are plotting to sabotage the democratisation of the House of Lords, according to newspaper reports.

According to the Daily Telegraph the Conservative Christian Fellowship is working to protect the ability of the state Church of England to bypass the democratic process and appoint its bishops as legislators. In a recent paper it proposed that Baptist, Catholic, Methodist and “black-led” congregations also be allowed to appoint legislators. They apparently hope that this broadening of undemocratic privilege would weaken opposition to the state church's privileges.

Apparently the Conservatives are not so keen on Muslim representation but may be willing to swallow that if necessary to protect the privileges of Christians.

Prime Minister Cameron was reported by the Telegraph to be “determined that the House of Lords is not turned into a secular institution”.

At the same time Conservatives are hoping to delay the replacement of other legislators-for-life with elected senators. One plan is to start with only 76 elected senators out of a final 500.

The Telegraph reported that both Conservative and Labour legislators-for-life would not be “bullied” into accepting reforms with which they disagreed. The last time the House of Commons voted to reform the second chamber the Lords resisted “bullying” by voting down the reform in a remarkably boisterous display of arrogance.

The Financial Times reported that Conservative MPs would also be trying to prevent reform out of pique over the behaviour of their Liberal Democrat coalition partners. They were said to have described the long-awaited reform as driving “a coach and horses through our constitution”. And as “revolutionary” rather than “evolutionary”. One MP said that “Tory backbenchers don’t like mucking around with the constitution”.

In fact Britain does not have a real constitution and progress towards a democratic legislature has been made very slowly over hundreds of years. Anti-democratic forces have long been successful in denying the people the basic democratic right of choosing all legislators.

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