Time to replace the House of Lords with a Senate

The House of Lords has been in the British news a lot recently. Expense scandals, appointment scandals, cronyism, etc.

Th British public overwhelming favors either outright abolition of the House of Lords or fundamental reform.

I favor the outright abolition of the House of Lords and replacement with a British style Senate (minus the flaws of the United States Senate).

I would revive the old European Union constituencies to use for elections the Senate.

As used in the European Union:

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

Tripled for use in the new Senate:

London - 24 seats
South West England - 18 seats
South East England - 30 seats
East of England - 21 seats
West Midlands - 21 seats
East Midlands - 15 seats
North West England - 24 seats
North East England - 9 seats
Yorkshire and the Humber - 18 seats
Wales - 12 seats
Scotland - 18 seats
Northern Ireland - 9 seats

Total - 219 seats

Appropriate size for an upper house. It would be elected by proportional representation, with a cutoff to keep out very small parties and prevent fragmentation. The Senate would elect its President from its own membership.

The Senate would have the same function as the current House of Lords, just with the greater legitimacy of being democratically elected. The House of Commons would remain the more powerful body. The Senate would be able to review, amend and delay legislation, though the House of Commons would be able to override any Senate actions, as it currently does with House of Lords actions.

This idea of reform seems to have quite a bit of support in Britain among those people who seek fundamental reform of the House of Lords.

Trying to reform the House of Lords is a fools errand. Only complete replacement with a Senate will really end all the current problems.

A Senate elected by popular vote?

Yes, proportionally.

Recipe for failure.

It can’t fail any worse than the current House of Lords. In any event, the upper house is subordinate to the lower house, so any failure is muted in effect.

If it is subordinate, it wouldn’t be a senate.

The House of Lords is a farce / historical appendix. The House of Commons can simply ignore it completely at any time, which is exactly what would happen if a different party controlled the House of Lords under the plan in the OP.

The Lords is am embarrassing anachronism, as is the monarchy.

Johnson has utterly degraded it by appointing his brother.

But we don’t really do constitutional reform over here for some reason, so I don’t expect anything to change in my lifetime.

Senate does not equate to equality with a lower house. In the United States, upper houses are on an equal par with the lower house in matters of legislation.

But worldwide, it is quite typical that the upper house of a legislature is subordinate to the lower house.

The United States is one of the few exceptions to the rule.

Look at the etymology of the word. Assembly of seniors (old men). “Senate” was never intended to be “lesser”.

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I have no problem with the monarchy itself, though I fully support Prince Charles’ plan to streamline it. The fewer working royals you have, the less chance for embarrassments like Prince Andrew and Prince Harry. Cut back on the trappings and streamline. Europe still has several monarchies that work well. I would abolish the nobility, which serves little purpose since most of the hereditaries were booted from the House of Lords and most of the life peers got there due to cronyism.

I’d get rid of the lot of them but I am in a small minority.

The way things are going the Jocks are likely to declare independence within a generation and the momentum for Irish reunification is building.

Maybe after all that those of left can finally admit the current set up is suboptimal and actually do something about it for once.

I think you are getting too caught up with the name.

We could just as easily call the new body the House of Regions (since it is elected regionally) or the House of Review (since it essentially reviews legislation originating in the House of Commons).

Ok, as long as you don’t call it a senate.

It seems to me that a government needs both to work.

Somebody has to temper the passions of the common folk. Otherwise you end up with constant revolution, which isn’t healthy.

That’s what an upper house is supposed to do, IMO. Direct election of the “upper house” by the population doesn’t help with the job they are supposed to perform.

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According to a new British poll.

Only 12% of the British public support retention of the House of Lords as is.

43% believe it should be partially or fully elected.

28% believe it should be abolished entirely, leaving the House of Commons as the sole House.

Boris Johnson is throwing fuel on the fire with his recent appointments to the Lords, driving the chamber to almost 800 members. It is now the second largest legislative chamber in the world, with China’s People’s House being the only larger chamber.

Reform of the House of Lords is not possible. It is fundamentally flawed. The only solution is total abolition of the House of Lords and replacement with a proportionally elected upper chamber. My proposal in the OP would replace the nearly 800 member Lords with a 219 member Senate.

But the issue is clearly coming to a head. Johnson cannot avoid it any longer.

In what way do you mean subordinate?

Perhaps a better term for me to use would be unequal, rather than subordinate.

And by unequal, I mean in precisely the same way the two Houses of Parliament are currently unequal.

For example, the House of Commons is solely responsible for choosing the government and that would remain.

The Senate would have the ability to propose amendments to legislation and could delay legislation, but could not outright block legislation if the House of Commons is determined to pass it.

In other words, the balance of power between the Senate and House of Commons would be pretty much the same as between the House of Lords and House of Commons.

Thanks for the clarification. In Australia our Senate can vote against legislation. It can propose money bills; they have to be initiated in the House of Reps. There is a provision if the Senate defeats a bill twice, the government can call a double dissolution election and if it wins the election, there can be a joint sitting of both houses to pass the rejected legislation. Perhaps that could be incorporated in your model.