The End of the Peer show? Responses to the draft bill on Lords reform


[First Published on Tuesday 19th July 2011]

The following post was first published on ConSoc’s previous site. It is recorded here as a window onto issues as they were at the time.

The end of the peer show? is a collection of responses to the Coalition Government’s reform proposals for the House of Lords, published in May 2011.

When The Constitution Society commissioned these essays we asked our contributors to focus on the specific proposals in the draft bill rather than on the broad narrative of incomplete reform which has been ongoing for a hundred years since the passage of the 1911 Parliament Act.

Our contributors are leading academics and parliamentarians with wide experience, representing opinion across the political spectrum.

The collection is roughly divided into four sections. First, a group of distinguished political scientists set the current proposals in a comparative international and historical context.

Second, Mark Harper, Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, makes the case for the coalition proposals and Hilary Benn replies from an Opposition perspective.

Third,  we hear from four prominent members of the current House of Lords, and finally from a cross section of politicians and academics with diverse and stimulating views.

The Constitution Society’s principal objective is to stimulate and inform discussion about constitutional change.

We hope that these commentaries will serve as a valuable resource both for the purposes of pre-legislative scrutiny and for the subsequent debate on whatever legislative proposals are eventually put before Parliament on this matter of paramount constitutional significance.


Graham Allen MP, Chair of the Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform
Prof Sir John Baker QC, University of Cambridge
Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Prof Patrick Dunleavy, The London School of Economics
Mark Harper MP, Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform
Prof Lord Harries of Pentregarth, Gresham College
David Howarth, University of Cambridge
Rt Hon Lord Maclennan of Rogart, Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Policy Committee on Constitutional and Political Reform
Prof Iain McLean, University of Oxford
Prof Dawn Oliver, University College London
Rt Hon Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
Dr Meg Russell, University College London
Rt Hon Baroness D’Souza of Wychwood, Convenor of the Crossbench Peers

To listen to a Podcast of the launch event click here

To download your copy in pdf format click here

This publication presents the personal views of the author and not those of The Constitution Society, which publishes it as a contribution to debate on this important subject.