The reform of the House of Lords is urgently necessary. Her Majesty the Queen is in her ninetieth year. At the accession of the next monarch it is essential for the continuity and stability of the realm that the Coronation be carried out exactly as in 1953. There is some hope for this given the present political constellation and the seemingly remote prospect of a change of governing party in the foreseeable future. One serious obstacle will be the great prominence of the hereditary aristocracy in the Coronation Rite. This will be the crack through which secret and open republicans will seek to prise open the question of the Coronation Rite and subvert it and the monarchy with innumerable banalities.
If the House of Lords is reformed prior to the Coronation in a manner that preserves its essential character but which is unimpeachably democratic this danger can be eradicated and the sovereignty of the King in Parliament protected for future generations.This seems like a tall order but I believe it is possible. How?
- The old county boundaries should be restored. Larger urban areas should be exempted from their jurisdiction. Each resulting City and County must then be given, in addition to its County or City Council an elected Lord Mayor or Lord Sheriff. The people of each areas may choose by plebiscite whether the Lord Mayor/Lord Sheriff should be directly elected by the electorate or by the council. Anyone standing for election in this way must either already be a Peer or have served as a member of the House of Commons. These Lords Mayor and Lords Sheriff will then sit in the House of Lords as Lords of Parliament for as long as they retain office in their City or County and represent the interests of each.
- The Lord Mayor of London would be appointed in the same way as he is now.
- The existing Peers who today compose the House of Lords should be divided into groups according to their party with an additional cross bench group. The members of these groups should then be arranged in order of creation (life or new hereditary) or accession (ninety hereditaries).
- The number of Lords of Parliament should be set to 400 (roughly the capacity of the Lords Chamber).
- After each General Election for the House of Commons the Lords Sheriff and Mayor should be supplemented by Peers from the party and cross bench lists in order of seniority so that the final number of Lords of Parliament is in exact proportion to the percentage of votes cast for each party in the General Election (the party lists) and of electors who did not vote (the cross bench list).
- The Lords Spiritual, the Earl Marshal and the Lord Chamberlain would remain as now in addition to the 400.
In this way the Lords will remain an appointed chamber of broadly the same character as today but with a democratic mandate. Nevertheless, the connection of the majority of the Peers in the Chamber to the electorate will be less direct preserving the primacy of the House of Commons.