Thursday, 10 December 2009
The House of Lords
Yesterday evening I attended a lecture by the Lord Speaker, Baroness Hayman, entitled "Ermine, Ethics and Engagement: Evolution in the House of Lords".
The background to the challenge faced by the House of Lords as a result of the dramatic loss of confidence in Parliament during the last year was set out. The new code of conduct; rules on Peers expenses and procedures were described.
An important point was made by Baroness Hayman "We do not want a House of Lords in which only the retired and privately wealthy are able to participate". She said later that putting the House in order is necessary but not sufficient. The House must find ways of doing its job better AND engaging with the public.
Many proposals for reform were raised. This is a speech which anyone interested in the House of Lords - and its future - should read. BBC Parliament plan to broadcast the speech at 9pm UK time on Saturday (further details) The Hansard Society who organised the lecture have previously placed audio of earlier lectures on their website. I hope that they will do the same for this speech shortly. The text is available here.