Tomorrow Nick Clegg will unveil the latest plank of the Lib-Dem constitutional reform dream when he sets out radical plans to overhaul the House of Lords.
At the heart of the proposals, which will be kicked into the long grass consulted on for a year, will be moves towards making the upper house at least 80 per cent elected.
After the nightmare that was AV, the Deputy Prime Minister already looks to be facing difficulties with his bid to make their Lordships shuffle off into the political wilderness.
Some 40 peers, including former Liberal leader Lord Steel, have written a letter to MPs setting out the case against an elected House of Lords.
The Standard has seen a copy of this opening shot in the battle for the red benches, and it reads as follows:
We write to you as former long-serving Members of the House of Commons who believe passionately in the supremacy of the elected Chamber. We believe that that supremacy and authority would inevitably be challenged if the House of Lords were to be replaced by a wholly, or largely, elected Second Chamber. Not only that. Each individual Member of Parliament would be in the position of having an elected 'Senator' able to claim jurisdiction within his or her constituency. And if that 'Senator' were elected by proportional representation, and for one single fifteen or twenty year term, he/she would certainly seek to claim greater legitimacy, and, being ineligible for re-election, would have no accountability to the electorate.
We are not saying that the House of Lords should not be reformed. It is too big and there are measures that could be taken to make it even more effective than it is at the moment. We believe, however, that an appointed House does have very real merit. It can deliberately reflect the diversity of the nation in a way that Party selection and elections cannot. In the present House of Lords there is a reasonable gender balance. There is a long standing tradition of ethnic diversity, and there are many more disabled Members. Above all, there is a vast reservoir of talent and experience among those people, eminent in the professions and other walks of life, who regularly contribute to our debates, but who would never seek election.
The inevitable consequence of elections would be a greater politicisation of the House of Lords and a reduction in the independent element within it. Please bear in mind that if twenty per cent of the House of Lords were appointed, to preserve something of that independent element there would then be two classes of Members, the elected and the unelected.
We would urge all our colleagues in the House of Commons to bear these important points in mind when proposals for a new Second Chamber are laid before you.
Donald Anderson, Janet Fookes, Jill Knight, John Morris, Paul Boateng, Derek Foster, Norman Lamont, Tony Newton, Betty Boothroyd, George Foulkes, lan Lang, Michael Shaw, Tim Boswell, Peter Fraser, John Lee, Robert Sheldon, Peter Brooke, Archie Hamilton, Geoffrey Lofthouse, Michael Spicer, Patrick Cormack, Terence Higgins, John MacGregor, David Steel, Jean Corston, Alan Howarth, David Maclean (Blencathra), Ann Taylor, Brian Cotter, Geoffrey Howe, John Maples, John Tomlinson, Hugh Dykes, Patrick Jenkin, Patrick Mayhew, Don Touhig, Nicholas Edwards (Crickhowell), Michael Jopling, Tommy McAvoy, Dennis Turner (Bilston)
Here's a PDF: Download Lords letter
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