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Keir Starmer aims to abolish House of Lords in Labour’s first term

05 Dec 2022 4 minute read
Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer speaking at the Labour Regional Conference in Barnsley.

Labour would aim to abolish the “indefensible” House of Lords “as quickly as possible”, ideally within its first term, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

But the party’s leader did not commit to a timeframe for the move, stressing discussions are pending on when “exactly” it would come to pass.

The proposal forms part of Labour’s blueprint for a “New Britain”, outlined in the report of its commission on the UK’s future – headed by ex-premier Gordon Brown.

Sir Keir will hail the proposals for political and economic devolution as “the biggest ever transfer of power from Westminster to the British people” at a joint press conference in Leeds on Monday.

He had hinted that some of the measures – including a new democratic assembly of nations and regions to replace the Lords – may have to wait for a second term Labour government.

But quizzed repeatedly on when his party would enact the proposal to abolish the upper chamber during a broadcast round on Monday, he said he hoped to deliver the change within the first five years of governing.

Sir Keir suggested the move, along with all other proposals in the report, could be achieved within Labour’s first term.

“I’m very keen that all of the recommendations in the report are carried out as quickly as possible,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“So we will now have after today a process of consultation testing the ideas … with a view to how do we implement them?”

Pressed on whether he hoped to abolish the Lords in Labour’s first term, he told Sky News: “Yes, I do.

“Because when I asked Gordon Brown to set up the commission and do this, I said what I want is recommendations that are capable of being implemented in the first term.”

Indefensible

Mr Brown has insisted the current upper chamber is “indefensible” and has to go.

He warned in a briefing for Scottish journalists ahead of the report’s launch that the issue could “come to a head” when Boris Johnson publishes his resignation honours list, which is expected to include a number of new peers.

The former Labour leader said there was a feeling many in the Lords were there “simply because they have been friends with the Conservative Party and not because of their contribution to public policy”.

Among the report’s 40 recommendations is a call to give local communities new powers over skills, transport, planning and culture to drive growth.

Wales could get new powers over youth justice and probation, while constitutional protections for devolution and the rights of Members of the Senedd would be extended, along with access to British Regional Investment Bank funding.

Combined with local growth plans, the report argues this will enable the emergence of hundreds of ‘clusters’ of economic activity in cities and towns across the UK.

Meanwhile, some 50,000 civil service jobs would be transferred out of London.

New powers over transport and infrastructure and development and planning – including compulsory purchase orders on vacant sites – would be handed to the devolved administrations, the mayors and local authorities.

Anti-corruption agency

The report also proposes a series of measures to clean up politics including a new anti-corruption agency, an integrity and ethics commission to replace the various existing “ad hoc bodies” and a ban on most second jobs for MPs.

Backing the plan, Sir Keir will tell the launch event: “The centre hasn’t delivered.

“We have an unbalanced economy which makes too little use of the talents of too few people in too few places.

“We will have higher standards in public life, a wider spread of power and opportunity, and better economic growth that benefits everyone, wherever they are.

“By setting our sights higher, wider, better, we can build a better future together.”

He will say the report reflects the demand from people across the country for a “new approach”.

“During the Brexit referendum I argued for Remain, but I couldn’t disagree with the basic case that many Leave voters made to me,” he will say.

“They wanted democratic control over their lives so they could provide opportunities for the next generation, build communities they felt proud of, and public services they could rely on.

“And I know that in the Scottish referendum in 2014, many of those who voted ‘Yes’ did so for similar reasons, the same frustration at a Westminster system that seems remote.”


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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 month ago

Kier Starmer doesn’t support the Unions or the strikes nor the workers, he doesn’t understand racism and how it affects those subject to it and society as a whole (or perhaps more sinisterly, he DOES and the ignorance displayed by him and his party in matters of this area is a choice, which makes him more right-wing than David Cameron. Take a moment, let that percolate a bit), he supports Transphobia (let that sink in, he doesn’t support working-class people fighting for their jobs but the does support a sneering bully that lives in a mansion, swill that around the… Read more »

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
1 month ago

And would the House of Lords have to vote on that Bill?

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
1 month ago

This is a Cul De Sac for us. Ignore it and get on with the important bit: Independence!

Cynan again
Cynan again
1 month ago

Blare said the same thing about ditching / reforming the HoL. Empty pormises

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago
Reply to  Cynan again

It is essentially a Dead Cat project. The Labour Party Members are looking for electoral reform and the intoduction of PR. Mr S doesn’t like that so House of Lords reform is push to divert the media from asking why he has not put proper electoral reform into the Manifesto. It also clear as Plaid have stated that Labour (England) does not really brlieve in devolution for Wales. Sadly Mr D is far too polite about the proposals when he should be up in arms about the fact that Scotland is to be offered better terms than Wales.

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