Gordon Brown criticizes the House of Lords as “indefensible” amid rumors that Keir Starmer may rethink the plan to scrap the upper house
- Brown will propose an elected alternative called the Assembly of Nations and Regions
- The former prime minister said that “a new anti-corruption agency will be created under the command of the Labor Party.”
- He insisted there would be a ban on second jobs for MPs if Labor wins.
- This comes amid reports that Starmer may reconsider his party’s plans for Lords.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said the House of Lords is ‘indefensible’ as Labor prepares to water down its reform of the upper house.
Brown will publish a report today proposing an elected alternative called the Assembly of Nations and Regions, along with measures to combat corruption. But he comes amid reports that Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer may reconsider his party’s plans for Lords.
The party can now commit in its manifesto only to consult on the reform. The move will infuriate Brown, who has been working on the report commissioned by the Labor Party since 2020.
He is convinced that change is needed, saying: ‘The present House of Lords is indefensible. Every second camera in the world, with very few exceptions, is relatively small and generally smaller than the first camera. We now have a House of Lords which has 830 members. That compares to the US Senate having 100 members to cover 300 million people.’
Gordon Brown (left) will publish a report today proposing an elected alternative called the Assembly of Nations and Regions, along with measures to combat corruption. But he comes amid reports that Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer (right) may reconsider his party’s plans for Lords.
He added that the issue of Lords reform “will come to a head again when Boris Johnson has an honor roll of resignation.”
As well as abolishing the House of Lords, Brown said a “new anti-corruption agency will be set up under Labour”, with the Integrity and Ethics Commission set up to replace the existing “ad hoc bodies”.
Mr Brown’s report also proposes the creation of a citizens’ jury to oversee the system and determine whether ‘its compliance satisfies the public’.
The former prime minister insisted there would be a ban on second jobs for MPs if Labor wins the next election, although he indicated there could be an exemption for those MPs who need to work to maintain their professional qualifications, such as doctors and lawyers.
This would include Sir Geoffrey Cox, who earns hundreds of thousands of pounds as a barrister on top of his MP’s salary.
Brown added: “The criticism that people have of Westminster, Whitehall is very strong, and the change has to be major to resolve that.”
He insisted that the House of Lords was “emblematic of that”, stating that there is a feeling that many peers have been given roles there “simply because they have been friends with the Conservative Party and not because of their contribution to public policy”. .
Sir Keir Starmer told the Sunday Times: “Whether because of the reforms in this report or more generally, it will realistically take more than one term for Labor to change our country.”
He added that consideration of “when and how this will be implemented” would come after Monday, when the report is released.