The Mother of Parliament has been degraded. Our proud British Democracy is in crisis.
Powerful positions in our legislature are for sale by all three main parties to party donors, lobbyists and cronies. The Guardian and the Daily Mail both condemned Cameron’s resignation awards as: devalued, debased, discredited, egregious, grubby, tawdry, tainted, tarnished. Both decry Cameron’s “chumocracy” .
The Welsh Assembly has more powers but is expected to fulfil the functions of government and opposition scrutiny with its original skeleton staff of members. Scotland will be Brexited against the wishes of their voters. The Government is aghast at our debased democracy but plans one change only- the one that will cut the numbers of democratically elected MPs (mostly Labour).
Tory MP Chair of the Procedure Committee Charles Walker said: ‘It seems perverse to reduce the number of elected representatives in this place while the Lords continues to gorge itself on new arrivals. We in this place must guard against bringing this country’s democratic settlement into disrepute”.
Labour Kevin Brennan asked: Under what school of political logic do we enhance democracy by cutting the number of elected politicians and increasing the number of unelected peers? ‘
I challenged House Leader David Lidington, “Next week’s Welsh debate will illustrate the degraded system of our democracy and the way in which it is heading into further distress. The Wales Bill will not guarantee a compensatory increase in the number of Members of the Welsh Assembly, although their work load has trebled. Wales will lose 11 of its 40 MPs as well as the four MEPs who represent Wales. There is great turmoil in our democratic system as the disgrace of buying places in the House of Lords continues. The press has rightly condemned the decisions taken by the previous Prime Minister to award places in the House of Lords, which is already bloated and trying to cope with 200 extra Members that it does not need, in order to placate the interests of lobbyists, cronies and party donors. Instead of piecemeal reform of only one defect in our democracy that will please and help only the Tories and disfranchise 2 million voters, we should get together, recognize the degradation of our democracy and reach an all-party agreement on an all-embracing reform that will consider all the abuses in order to create a fair system that is good value for our electors and one that can win back international respect for the quality of our democracy.’
Replying to Kevin Brennan, David Lidington said: “As I said to the hon. Member for Newport West (Paul Flynn), I wish that there had been consensus on reform of the House of Lords in the previous Parliament, but that consensus was absent, and we are where we are. I doubt that opinion across the House of Commons has changed all that much since that abortive attempt at reform a few years ago.
Tory Phillip Davies added: ‘We have the situation whereby the Government propose to reduce the number of MPs by 50 but not to reduce the number of Ministers by an equal proportion, thereby giving the Government more control over the House of Commons. That is clearly an outrage, and surely.”
Ending a Lords debate on the farce of their internal elections, Tory spokeswomen Lady Chisholm said: 'The new Leader looks forward to working with Peers to support incremental reform that commands consensus across the House. We feel that that is the way forward at the moment.
The need for fundamental reform is obvious. It can only work if all parties agree on a single reform that will tackle all abuses in the interests of a defensible fair democracy that will be good value for tax-payers, represent public opinion and is effective and durable to the four nations of the United Kingdom.