The Queen's Speech: House of Lords Reform Shouldn't Take Priority - Spear's Magazine

The Queen's Speech: House of Lords Reform Shouldn't Take Priority

The urgent matter of addressing the country's economic woes is unlikely to top the the government's priority list following the speech, as vast amounts of time and resources are going to be ploughed into another, rather less pressing, matter: reforming the House of Lords.

In her speech earlier today, the Queen did not waste time in unveiling apparent grounds for optimism: within the first minute, she announced that the coalition government's priority over the next twelve months is to 'reduce the deficit and restore economic stability'. I suppose some might take encouragement from that, but in reality it was a subtle lowering of expectations: in her last speech, the Queen announced that the government's pledge was to reduce the deficit and restore growth.

However, the urgent matter of addressing the country's economic woes is unlikely to top the the government's priority list following the speech, as vast amounts of time and resources are going to be ploughed into another, rather less pressing, matter: reforming the House of Lords.

While there's a fair amount of consensus that repairing the economy — albeit concentrating on stability rather than growth — is pretty important at the moment, the same cannot be said about the government's plan to reform the House of Lords, ensuring that 'most' members would be elected in the future. The Lib Dems naturally expressed their delight over the proposed reform, citing it as long overdue. Some Tory Peers are fiercely opposed to the move, seeing a more competitive House of Lords as a threat to the power of the House of Commons.

This divided opinion sits alongside complete vagueness government actually proposes to do to bring about this reform, and over what time frame it will happen. The government said nothing specific about how large the reformed chamber would be, what percentage would be elected and when the first elections would be held. Using the kind of hazy political jargon that strikes fear into the hearts of those wanting decisive action to address economic turmoil, the government said it would 'carefully consider' the views of its constantly-bickering MPs and Peers.

That's encouraging. While it's heartening to hear restoring economic stability is a priority for the government, too near the top of its agenda is an issue that promises to further disrupt — rather than unify — an already fragmented government.



 

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