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House of Lords should be turned into senate symbolising the four nations of the UK says Malcolm Rifkind

27 Sep 2022 3 minute read
Malcolm Rifkind. Picture by Foreign and Commonwealth Office (OGL v1.0).

The House of Lords should be turned into a senate symbolising the four nations of the UK according to former Conservative minister Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

In a lecture on the history of the union and his thoughts on devolution, he said that the new upper chamber should be able to contemplate various changes to the constitution of the UK and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland’s place within it.

The time may have come for reform of the House of Lords into a partially-elected senate, Malcolm Rifkind said in a lecture at the University of Edinburgh today.

“I think one change that is worth considering is a reform not in Edinburgh or Cardiff, but in Westminster itself,” he said.

“We have an upper house, the House of Lords – it does very good work, I’m not going to be rude or unpleasant about it, it does a lot of very important revising work.

“But I wonder whether the time has come to have something that reflects more the age we live in, perhaps something more of a senate.

“Maybe elected, not necessarily 100% elected.

“I think there is a case for appointing members who have already made a contribution to some aspect of public life and whose advice and experience would be valuable.”

He continued: “When constitutional issues have to be discussed, then what better place to do that than in the less heated atmosphere of the upper house?

“Where the merits and demerits of various changes might be contemplated?”

‘Hereditary’

Sir Malcolm said this change was unlikely to happen in the short term but noted former prime minister Gordon Brown had made similar proposals.

Answering questions from the audience in the university’s Playfair Library, the former MP said the UK’s parliament had evolved over the centuries and further evolution may be required.

He said: “This is a personal view, I’m not speaking on behalf of my party or anybody else.

“I think there is a growing case. We have an upper house, we want to continue having an upper house because a revising chamber is useful.

“But should it be a House of Lords and need it still continue to have hereditary people sitting in it?”

The lecture was hosted by the university’s Centre on Constitutional Change, in association with the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation.


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Ceramike
Ceramike
2 months ago

Interesting that both Gordon Brown and Malcolm Rifkind are singing from the same hymn book on reforming the upper house from a hereditary base toward a representative chamber for the devolved nations. Both are seen as influential figures in their respective political parties. There appears to be a move towards recognising that the current centralising of power and administration within a Westminster elite has and continues to ignore the populations and views of those areas of Great Britain outside of the South East of England. Despite all the promises of levelling up by Boris Johnson at the last election in… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
2 months ago

Turn the House of lords into a Senate to represent the four nations say Malcolm Rifkind lol. So funny. This would still be tokenism as the same Union Flag & Royal Standard would be flown or displayed reflecting only England, Scotland and Ireland.. Another desperate knee-jerk reaction from panicking British Unionists who clutch at straws. Won’t work.

Derek
Derek
2 months ago

Rifkind can get tae, as can Hen Broon…

George Atkinson
George Atkinson
2 months ago

It should be burned down.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago

Where is Guy when you need him?

Gareth
Gareth
2 months ago

Maybe it should remain. At least we will know where all the Russian spies are at any one time. This place is of no interest or concern to me, as I want an independent Republic in Cymru.

Windy
Windy
2 months ago

It would probably be filled using some sort of proportional representation based on the population of each country and therefore dominated by English representatives.
Very bad news for the other three nations

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  Windy

If England had their way they would introduce proportional representation based on population of each country when playing rugby union. They already do it in some sports like world snooker, darts championships etc. when there is always more English playing than any other nationality. The odds on them winning is obviously high. That would be fair from their point of view.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
2 months ago

It’ll never happen. There’s too much money tied up in the place. Will they keep the 800 lords on £800 a week? What will happen to the poor old Tory party? No more donations for honours? When there is that much money involved changing the system will take an earthquake. Cymru is better of gaining independence and forming its own institutions.

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