Talking sense on Lords reform: why the PSA’s new Briefing fills a crucial gap

Stuart Wilks-Heeg

On 19 May 2010, just weeks after the General Election, the new Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, promised that the incoming coalition government would preside over ‘a wholesale, big bang approach to political reform’, amounting to ‘the biggest shake up of our democracy since 1832’. It scarcely needs pointing out that, following the decisive ‘no’ vote in the AV referendum, the bang very quickly became a whimper, and that the DPM no longer seeks to invoke comparisons with the Great Reform Act of 1832.

Liberal Democrat hopes for major constitutional change now rest with House of Lords reform – a proposition which many commentators assume is not only dead in the water, but also risks holding up other aspects of political reform, such as changes to party funding arrangements.  Meanwhile, proponents of reform ranging from the Electoral Reform Society, to Unlock Democracy and Take Back Parliament are engaged in some much-needed, honest reflection on the lessons to be drawn from the AV referendum and on the future priorities for the reform movement.

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