The new Conservative government of the United Kingdom is moving forward towards what likely will be a fundamental reform of the House of Lords.
One of the plans said to be highly favored would completely eliminate the existing membership of the House of Lords. The remaining hereditary peers, all the life peers, all the Lords Spiritual, all without exception would be booted out of the House of Lords. The new chamber, perhaps to be called the Senate or some other name, would be elected from the existing European Parliament Constituencies, in the existing proportions, but in greater numbers.
Currently, those constituencies are:
London - 8 seats
South West England - 6 seats
South East England - 10 seats
East of England - 7 seats
West Midlands - 7 seats
East Midlands - 5 seats
North West England - 8 seats
North East England - 3 seats
Yorkshire and the Humber - 6 seats
Wales - 4 seats
Scotland - 6 seats
Northern Ireland - 3 seats
Total - 73 seats
The number of seats from each of those constituencies would be increased to obtain a total seat size for the new House in the range of 300 to 400 seats, large, but FAR smaller than the current 800 something Lords and smaller than the 650 members of the House of Commons.
Members would be elected by the D’Hondt Method of proportional representation. This method is more advantageous to the larger parties and disfavors small parties. A vote threshold would likely exist to keep out very small parties entirely.
Because it would be elected by proportional representation, likely no one party would ever control the upper chamber and it would likely be controlled by coalitions.
The upper house would still have the same limited powers of the existing House of Lords. It would have no role in the selection of the government and only limited powers to amend or delay power, but no ability to stop legislation the House of Commons is determined to pass. Elections for the House of Commons would automatically trigger elections for the upper house, so both would be elected simultaneously.
I like this idea of reform. The current membership of the House of Lords is nonsensical and represents no one. The House of Lords is far too big. No way should the upper house be larger than the Commons. It should be substantially smaller. It creates a membership that is representative of the United Kingdom as a whole.
I don’t know if this particular idea will be the final choice, but I like it better than other ideas I have seen.