12 May 2010

How to Drive Electoral Reform

The coalition agreement states:
We agree to establish a committee to bring forward proposals for a wholly or mainly elected upper chamber on the basis of proportional representation.
In terms of electoral reform for the Commons, I think this is more significant that the AV referendum.  At this stage, it's in that half hearted position of being a commitment to look at a reform, rather than a commitment to get on with reforming, but as the three largest parties all have a stated commitment to some degree of election to the Lords, anybody attempting to block it would be inviting significant criticism.

A proportional Lords will be able to claim more democratic legitimacy than an unreformed Commons, so without reform of the Commons, there could be some constitutional head-butting between the two houses.  The Commons would almost certainly have to be reformed in some way, not necessarily to satisfy public demand, but to defend its supremacy over the Lords.

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