There are currently four separate petitions calling for the abolition of the House of Lords. All of the petitions came to life in a fit of anger following continued Lords prevarication on Brexit.
Combined, the four petitions total just under 500,000 signatures.
On June 18th, the Commons will debate the future of the Lords based on these signatures. The Lords will survive, the debate will be a complete waste of time; but if the Lords haven’t yet learned their lesson, failing to see the EU Withdrawal Bill through, will push public anger to unprecedented levels.
If any Lord, or members of their team, have ventured beyond the chamber to discuss with normal people what reasons lay behind their decision to leave, ‘taking back control’ would score highly across the board. An unelected institution which is perceived as holding back the will of the people, would be wise to remember this.
The EU-Lords connection
Another issue that dogs the Lords is the close connection many have with the EU, and the fact so many of them campaigned so hard for greater European integration in their politcal careers.
Lord Hennessy, a remainer, explains…
The role of the Lords
Critics of Brexit will scream that this is exactly the job of the Lords, to cause trouble and make the government re-think when it’s miscalculated something. Now in most situations, this is a farce; the Lords has a remarkably low turnout in almost all meetings, it seldom challenges the government on anything and spends most of the time discussing legislation. And sleeping.
And when they do do something useful, this is excellent, however challenging government legislation, wording, amendments, proposals etc is one thing, going against the people is quite another.
The in/out referendum was a once in a lifetime opportunity. We were told that the result would be binding and that the government would get the job done as swiftly as possible.
Two years ago that mandate was handed to the government: 17.4 million voted out in what was the largest exercise of democracy this nation has ever had.
What the Lords have shown during this period is a terrible miscalculation. Most people neither know or care who a Lord is, what they do, why they do it. But now, the attention of more and more angry democrats is being focused on this archaic institution.
The last time an unelected institution became the focus of national attention, we booted it out. The Lords should be aware of this, and go back to doing what they do best: very little.