18 Oct 2011

Electorate should decide the membership of the Second Chamber

Some will remember a long while back I purchased a peerage (see left)!! See here and here - this was a campaign to highlight the absurd situation re the 'cash for peerages' row: 17 out of the 22 individuals who have donated more than £100,000 to the Labour Party received an honour; all but one of the individuals who have donated more than £1m have received a peerage. This is totally unacceptable in a modern democracy. Well Lords reform is still moving forward slowly.....

Greens believe that the House of Lords should be a wholly elected Second Chamber and as such the Appointments Commission should be abolished.  Click read more to see more - also see more from Unlock Democracy here that adds more weight to calls for an elected house.
Stuart Jeffrey, Policy Coordinator on the Green Party Executive said recently, “Whilst we are content with the proposed size of 300 members, consideration should be given to a ten year term, with 50% of the House elected each time.  This would ensure a more proportional result. An open list system ensures that the electorate can override the list order selected by the party, which places more power in the hands of the electorate.  Should smaller constituencies be used then we would wish them to be multi-member constituencies large enough to ensure that elections are proportional, for example current Euro region boundaries and that the Single Transferable Vote is used.”

The Green Party would wish to see a fully proportional electoral system using an open list system with the Sainte-Laguë system used to allocate seats as is used in many countries around the globe. The Sainte-Laguë method is one way of allocating seats approximately proportional to the number of votes of a party to a party list used in many voting systems. It is named after the French mathematician Andre Sainte-Lague - it is similar to the D’hondt, but uses different divisors. In most cases the largest remainder method delivers identical or almost identical results. The D'Hondt method gives similar results too, but favours larger parties compared to the Sainte-Laguë method.

The Green Party wishes to see an elected House introduced following the 2015 election.  300 members should be elected in 2015 with 100 serving for 15 years, 100 for 10 years and 100 for 5 years.  It is time we saw an end to Bishops or hereditary peers as of right in a second chamber.  Britain is a multi-cultural society and should Bishops or any member of other leading religions wish to represent the electorate, they should seek election via the ballot box.

The Green Party does not the support the proposal that the Government should be able to appoint extra members to serve as ministers.  This would override the result of the election by giving the governing party extra members who had not been voted in by the electorate - and of course open to abuse and accusations of cronyism.

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