Labor will ‘Abolish’ the ‘indefensible’ House of Lords… but when? Keir Starmer risks clashing with Gordon Brown as he desperately dodges a promise to scrap the upper house within five years of winning power.
- Gordon Brown calls for abolition of ‘indefensible’ House of Lords in report
- Keir Starmer dodged whether the policy would happen in Labor’s first term
- The former prime minister’s report proposes replacing it with an ‘Assembly of Nations and Regions’
Keir Starmer risked clashing with Gordon Brown today when he desperately dodged a commitment to abolish the House of Lords in a Labor first term.
Sir Keir agreed with the former prime minister, who has written a report on democracy reform and devolution to the party, that the upper house is ‘indefensible’.
However, he frantically dodged when asked if that would happen in the first five years if he wins power.
The issue could come to a head when Sir Keir presents the report along with Brown in Leeds later.
The long-awaited bill will propose a chosen alternative called the Assembly of Nations and Regions, along with measures to combat corruption.
However, there is speculation that the Labor manifesto will only undertake to consult on reform.
Pressed on the deadline to throw out the Lords, something previous Labor governments failed to do, Sir Keir told BBC Breakfast: “I think the House of Lords is indefensible.” Anyone looking at the House of Lords would have a hard time saying it should stay.
“So we want to abolish the House of Lords and replace it with an elected house that has a really strong mission.”
Asked how high of a priority this would be for Labour, Sir Keir said: “I am very keen that all the recommendations in the report are carried out as quickly as possible.” So after today, we’ll have a consultation process to test the ideas… with a view to how we implement them?’
He said that all of the report’s recommendations, including the proposal to abolish the House of Lords, are “deliberately written so that they can be implemented within the first five years of a Labor government.”
Keir Starmer risked a showdown with Gordon Brown today when he desperately dodged a commitment to abolish the House of Lords in a Labor first term.
Keir agreed with the former prime minister (pictured), who has written a report on democracy reform and devolution to the party, that the upper house is “indefensible”.
Sir Keir desperately dodged when asked if the abolishment of the House of Lords (pictured, during the opening of the state) would happen in the first five years if he wins power.
Brown, who has been working on the Labor Party-commissioned report since 2020, is adamant change is needed.
He said: ‘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.’
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”. .