House of Lords slammed as ‘Westminster private members’ club’ as 36 new peers brings total to over 800

Chamber of the House of Lords. Picture by the UK Parliament (CC BY 3.0).

The House of Lords has been criticised as a “Westminster private members’ club” after research revealed that nearly a quarter of peers are based in London, compared to just 13% of the UK public.

Only 19 of the over 800 peers came from Wales, or 3.8% of the total. The majority of peers (55%) for which regional data is available reside in only three regions, London, and the South East and East of England.

A majority of the 36 new peers (58%) created by Boris Johnson this month were elected politicians prior to entering the Lords – more than double the proportion of current peers in the Lords, according to the research.

Other new peers created by the PM include Russian-born newspaper owner Evgeny Lebedev and the Brexit-supporting former cricketer Ian Botham. No 10 said that people were “nominated in recognition of their contribution to society”.

Not a single peer – out of 800 Lords – has a primary working background in manual work or skilled trades.

 

‘Cronyistic’

“Far from being a bastion of independence, these findings show that the House of Lords is packed with ex-MPs and party activists – handed votes on our laws for life with no accountability,” Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said.

“This latest batch of cronyistic appointments only exacerbates the problem. Despite No 10 briefing that these peerages would honour Britain’s medical heroes, the health sector is grossly under-represented.

“Instead, the PM’s pals in journalism and finance have been rewarded, while the full breadth of experience in Britain is unheard. The Lords was already warped – and it’s getting worse. Voters have had enough.

“This private members’ club has got to be overhauled, to give voters the final word on who sits in our revising chamber. We need a fairly-elected upper house that can truly reflect Britain today.

“As it stands, the Lords is making a mockery of Parliament. When trust in politics is at rock bottom, the government must do the right thing and mend the rot.”

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