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1949, 1969, 1999: The Labour Party and House of Lords reform

Dorey, Peter 2006. 1949, 1969, 1999: The Labour Party and House of Lords reform. Parliamentary Affairs 59 (4) , pp. 599-620. 10.1093/pa/gsl031

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Throughout its one hundred year history, the Labour Party has never been able to agree on how the House of Lords should be reformed. On those occasions when Labour parliamentarians have sought to devise a package of reforms, most notably in 1949, 1969 and since 1999, they have discovered that each potential measure to change the composition or power of the House of Lords raises other potential problems. For example, a more democratic or representative membership would imbue the Second Chamber with more legitimacy, and thus increase the likelihood of challenges to a Labour government in the House of Commons, whilst replacing hereditary peers with appointees raises concerns about enhancing prime ministerial patronage. Such have been the range of possible options for reform of the House of Lords, and the concomitant range of opinions in the Labour Party, that no agreement has ever been reached, and hence previous proposals for Lords reform have invariably been abandoned. It is in this context that the Blair Governments stalling over ‘stage two’ of House of Lords reform should be understood.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0031-2290
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 01:50

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