Jim Fitzpatrick: The fun of Lords reform
By Jim Fitzpatrick
Oh what fun we've had. A massive vote in favour of House of Lords reform effectively killed off "procedurally" by a massive Tory rebellion.
I had six emails recently on this subject, so no mass public interest; but we spent two days on debate and the Government offered 10 more.
Labour's view was that, although we wish to see the Bill progress, we want to ensure it is a good Bill, and this means allowing parliament the time to revise, amend and improve it.
In the past 15 years, there have been reforms: abolition of hereditaries (bar 92 transitional places); separation of judiciary and legislature (Supreme Court); and the Lords electing their own Speaker.
Most people support further reform: elections (but not by party list); retention of some appointments of experts (who wouldn't stand); and the reduction of numbers from 800+.
Locally, we have councillors, elected mayor, London Assembly Member John Biggs, Boris, MEPs and me. Enough already.
Still, bearing in mind the democratic deficit suffered by people in some parts of the world, perhaps we should never be too concerned at what appears to be ballot-box overload.
Our problem is not lack of opportunity to vote. It's more one of getting people out to vote when they have the chance.
■ Jim Fitzpatrick is MP for Poplar and Limehouse