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Our House: Reflections on Representation and Reform in the House of Lords

New collection of essays from ResPublica's British Civic Life workstream

As a keynote publication from our British Civic Life workstream, ResPublica are proud to launch a collection of essays which explore how the House of Lords can best uphold and communicate the views and values of civil society.  Phillip Blond, ResPublica Director and Research Associate Rafal Heydel-Mankoo also set out an alternative proposal for its reform.

Prompted by the publication of the Coalition Government's Draft House of Lords Reform Bill, and the subsequent debate that has ensued in response to the proposals, this essay collection draws together civic and institutional leaders, experts and commentators, including Bishop Tim Stevens, Convenor of the Lords Spiritual; John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce; political philosopher Professor Roger Scruton; former welfare minister Frank Field MP; Sir Stephen Bubb, the Chief Executive of Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations; Lord Adebowale, the Chief Executive of social enterprise Turning Point; and Lord Wei, former Government Adviser on the 'Big Society'. In doing so, it aims to reflect on the opportunity for a House of Lords that best embodies British society.

Edited by Caroline Julian, Senior Researcher at ResPublica and with an opening Government statement by the Minister for Constitutional and Political Reform, Mark Harper MP outlining the Coalition's reforms, the collection of essays is published amidst the on-going debates surrounding the Coalition’s proposals.

In their concluding chapter, Phillip Blond and Rafal Heydel-Mankoo lay out a series of powerful arguments against the planned reforms and set out a radical alternative, a ‘hybrid house’, with one third of its member’s elected by the people, one third nominated by the political parties and one third appointed by civil society. Whilst agreeing that an elected element should be introduced, they argue that such an election should foster plurality and strengthen of our mixed constitution, rather than extend the writ of a form of democracy that will diminish the plurality of the Upper House. 

The compendium was formally launched on Wednesday the 29th February at 3pm in Committee Room 2, House of Lords, with a panel including the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, Mark Harper MP, The Rt Hon Frank Field MP, The Rt Hon The Lord Low of Dalston and ResPublica Director, Phillip Blond.

For further enquiries about this publication, please contact caroline.julian@ respublica.org.uk.

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Detailed Summary

Date Published
29 February 2012

Issue(s)
British Civic Life