Monday, November 27, 2006

Elect the Lords

Over the last week I have been trying to get a message to my local MP about House of Lords reform using however for some reason I have been unable to send the message. So today I made the decision that I should write to my MP using snail mail.

The letter I have written is copied before. I wrote to my MP on this issue sometime ago and his view was very different to mine then I am hoping that his views will have changed since.

Dear Mr Khalid Mahmood MP,

I am sure that you will have recently seen that there was a leaked discussion paper by the Leader of the House of Commons Rt Hon Jack Straw MP and that in the recent Queen's Speech the government announced they "will work to build a consensus on reform of the House of Lords and will bring forward proposals."

However unfortunate it maybe the government must be prepared to compromise in an effort to build a consensus for House of Lords reform. The government must accept the overwhelming consensus amongst both MPs and the public that a reformed second chamber should be predominantly elected. Opinion polls have consistently shown that a vast majority of the public support a predominantly or wholly elected second chamber. When the issue was last debated in the House of Commons, the option for an 80% elected House of Lords received the most support falling just a few votes short of the required amount.

The government does not need to build a consensus on this issue, it needs to accept that one already exists. The government cannot continue to insist as it currently does that no more than 50% of the second chamber should be elected.

The last time I wrote to you on this issue on 10th February 2004 your reply dated 19th February 2004 said "I support the Government proposals as the elected House of Commons will remain the Sovereign Body and can be removed by the electorate" there is no reason why even with a predominantly or wholly elected second chamber the House of Commons can not be the sovereign law making body in our country. There is no reason why a predominantly or wholly elected second chamber should be a threat to the sovereignty of the House of Commons.

On a final note I would like you think about how the UK government would have reacted if the Afghanistani constitutional convention had decided that some members of the legislature should be chosen by their Head of State and political leaders or if the Iraqi constitutional convention had recommended that half of its national legislature should be appointed by the head of government and political leaders. Our government would have rightly questioned if that was quite the commitment to democracy that we were hoping for.

It is disgraceful that we as a liberal democracy have more legislators who were not elected by the public than there are elected members. Our laws are being passed by a chamber of aristocrats, bishops, businessmen, charity workers, judges and ex-MPs.

I hope that you will take sometime to reconsider your position and ask the government to do the same.

If as I hope you do change your position on the issue can I ask that you sign up to the Elect the Lords campaign by visiting or writing to Elect the Lords, 6 Cynthia Street, London N1 9JF.

Yours sincerely,
Adam Nazir Ahmed Teladia


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