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ANY INQUIRY held into “cash-for-honours” and the role of major political party donations in appointments to the House of Lords should examine why Britain still has an unelected legislature in the 21st century, a Labour peer has said.
Pauline Bryan, Baroness Bryan of Partick, has questioned the continued existence of the House of Lords after it emerged at least 22 donors have been given peerages by the Tories, Labour and Liberal Democrats in the past 13 years.
A slew of new appointments were made by Boris Johnson to the Lords last week, including the Prime Minister’s brother, Tory Party benefactors and former right-wing Labour MPs who worked against Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
Ms Bryan, who was nominated for a life peerage by Mr Corbyn in May 2018, told the Star the function of the second chamber should be looked into altogether.
She added: “I don’t think it’s this one-off round of nominations – if we’re going to have some sort of inquiry it should be into the Lords as an institution and how we can, in the 21st century, still have an unelected part of our legislature.
“Rather than just looking at this one-off, use it as a justification for a bigger inquiry – not just so they can ‘tut tut’ about Boris Johnson.
“We have fisheries, agriculture, environment and the white paper on the single market all going through the Lords. All of these things should be telling us we need a federal second chamber, not an elitist, Establishment second chamber.”
The calls for a public inquiry have been made by the SNP, who say the “utterly undemocratic” House of Lords, which should have been abolished decades ago, has been clung on to by the Establishment to reward their “donors and cronies.”
Baroness Bryan said even those who are not donors in the Lords are steeped in the Establishment, admitting the PM appears to be using it as a “source of reward for people who have done him favours.”
She added: “They are people whose understanding of the world they live in is based on their lives – generally lived in exclusive schools, jobs that pay huge amounts of money, and being part of that Establishment.
“Some people are disgusted at the latest nominations – I am disgusted that they are there anyway.”
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