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North Ayrshire and Arran MP Patricia Gibson, has lodged a parliamentary petition in the House of Commons calling for the abolition of the House of Lords.
The move follows the recent creation of 36 new life peers, drawn primarily from the ranks of political party donors, former MPs and MSPs, increasing the size of the legislature to nearly 800 members, despite the UK Government’s commitment to reducing its numbers.
The House of Lords is the second largest parliamentary chamber in the world after China, and – with 26 Anglican Bishops as members – one of only two with reserved places for member of the clergy, along with Iran.
Mrs Gibson said: ‘This is an archaic, unelected institution which is accountable to no one and yet it wields huge influence over how our laws are made.
‘Stuffed full of retired politicians, cronies, party donors, bishops and aristocrats, it is appalling that any modern country retains such overt patronage, symbolising the UK establishment’s absurd institutions.
‘Too many Lords are inactive, yet receive £323 a day attendance allowance tax-free, even if they do not participate in any deliberations. To put that in perspective, a single person over 25 on Universal Credit can claim only £317.82 per month.
‘Calls for reform of the House of Lords have dragged on for decades, and neither the Tories nor Labour have delivered any meaningful change. Indeed, many who have called for abolition, such as my Labour predecessor Katy Clark, have readily and hypocritically accepted a peerage. SNP members do not accept peerages.
‘It does not need reform, it needs to be abolished, but so many of those who tell us they wish to reform it, end up spending their retirement there.
‘The most important aspect of a democracy is accountability – the ability to remove people from positions of power – yet voters cannot remove peers, pick its members or influence its decisions. There is no place in a modern democracy for such an institution.’