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Attempts to change the British House of Lords into a second chamber of the nations and regions: explaining a history of failed reforms

Russell, M; (2018) Attempts to change the British House of Lords into a second chamber of the nations and regions: explaining a history of failed reforms. Perspectives on Federalism , 10 (2) pp. 269-299. Green open access

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Abstract

The House of Lords is the world’s longest-established and probably best-known second chamber. Wholly unelected, with most members appointed for life, it appears a vestige of the ‘elite’ form of bicameralism once common throughout Europe. Hence calls for major reform are commonplace. However successful changes have been piecemeal and rare. Meanwhile the UK is not federal, but is nonetheless a ‘union state’, comprising the territories of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, each with its own distinct governing arrangements. These were most recently boosted by the 1997 Labour government’s devolution programme. Hence for decades, and particularly the last 20 years, devolution and Lords reform have both been on the UK’s political agenda. Throughout this time attempts to create a ‘second chamber of the nations and regions’ have repeatedly failed. This paper reviews the proposals made, and the obstacles they faced – drawing lessons for Britain, and territorial bicameralism more widely.

Type: Article
Title: Attempts to change the British House of Lords into a second chamber of the nations and regions: explaining a history of failed reforms
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.on-federalism.eu/index.php/component/co...
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons 2.5 Italy License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/it/
Keywords: House of Lords, Bicameralism, Federalism, Territorial representation, Second chambers
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10059857
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