The house of lords is the undemocratic second chamber of the British parliament but has little real power, theses are the arguments for and against reform of the chamber.
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Reform of the House of Lords has been an ongoing process since the first parliament act in 1911 which removed from the lords the power of veto replacing it with a delaying function the 1949 parliament act limited this delaying power to one year but since then there have been calls for further reform. The life peerage act of 1958 paved the way for the more sweeping reforms of the House of Lords act 1999 which removed all but 92 of the remaining hereditary peers.
The 2000 wakeham report called for a 550 member chamber with an elected minority, with a minimum 20% cross benchers and removing the powers of patronage away from the prime minister.
The 2001 white paper proposed a mainly appointed chamber but this was unpopular due to the fact that only 120 peers would be elected.
Currently the lord gives legitimacy to acts passed by the commons as they go through more intensive scrutiny with there sometimes being better informed peers than there counterparts in the commons. The fact that most peers are more experienced than members of the commons again leads to better scrutiny and gives them the ability so spot flaws in legislation with the lords making hundreds of changes to bills every year. Theses reasons are put forward as arguments against reform of the lords along with; an elected second chamber would become a commons mark 2 that would do nothing different than parliament and would become a conflicting power in the palace of Westminster. Another reason against reform is that if the second chamber is elected more recently than the first or if it was elected by a system of proportional representation then it would be able to gain more legitimacy than the commons which could lead to a power struggle that would be detrimental to the running of the country. Subjecting a second chamber to party and electoral pressures would be detrimental to the independence and effectiveness of the commons.
There are arguments in favour of the reform, like the fact that we have the only unelected second chamber in the western world and this undemocratic nature is not good for the countries standing in the world. The current state of the lords maintains birth privileges and dated class distinctions which can only have a bad effect of society. The fact that life peers leave wiggle room for corruption is obviously bad for the country and allowing this to happen in the corridors of power is not good. The political bias given to the conservative party in the lords, which was used in 1988 to pass the vastly unpopular poll tax is bad for democracy and for any kind of reform.
As the lords currently have very little real powers other than scrutiny it is not a very sound argument that the undemocratic nature of the lords is bad for parliament, the fact is that an elected second chamber would be a source of conflict which would not be beneficial for theses reforms to happen. On the whole the cons of lords reform outweigh the pros.