Call to even up the score in Lords as Wales has only 4% of peers – but London 24%
The UK Government must make more effort to even up national and regional representation in the Lords if they are going to cut Westminster constituency sizes, the Electoral Reform Society has said.
New Parliamentary seats are to be drawn up based on population figures released next month, with Wales set to lose eight of its 40 MPs. Meanwhile, Southeast England is likely to gain eight seats.
However, the changes to regional representation ignore the fact that the other half of Parliament – the House of Lords – remains dominated by London and the South East, the ERS said.
Currently, only 4% of Lords live in Wales while 24% are based in London, they said. Another 20% have their addresses in the south-east of England and 12% in the east of England.
Dr Jess Garland, Director of Policy and Research at the Electoral Reform Society, said that reforming Westminster would make more sense “if the House of Lords wasn’t so geographically warped”.
“Equalising regional representation in the Commons is an understandable aim – but on its own is not enough to tackle the democratic crisis in Parliament,” Jess Garland said.
“The second chamber is significantly tilted towards the capital and the South East. Too often the Lords looks like a Westminster private members club, rather than the revising chamber Britain needs to stand up for its nations and regions.
“Over half of Lords live in the capital, or the East & South East of England – while other regions are grossly under-represented. Other regions are unrepresented in half of Parliament, in large part because it is packed with Prime Ministers’ Westminster allies.
“To truly level up representation across the UK we need to overhaul the unelected Lords and ensure we have a dedicated chamber for the nations and regions of the UK. This past year has shown that we need real change to give power to those outside Westminster.”