Friday, January 09, 2009

13 new Lords in 2008

In today's Daily Post and on the BBC, Dafydd Wigley draws attention to the delay in himself, Eurfyl ap Gwilym and Janet Davies taking their seats in the House of Lords.

The reason given by the UK Cabinet Office is that Plaid, in electing and nominating potential members of the House of Lords, had not followed the correct procedure.

The correct procedure, of course, is to doff your cap and wait humbly for the Prime Minister to ask you to sit there.

Some might say that this is little more than could be expected from an arcane institution that has no place in modern politics and which is based on patronage of one form or another.

The problem is that the House of Lords, through the Constitutional Committee, the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, Merits Committee, and the House itself all play a role in the passing of LCO's and, of course, all of the Government Bills that impact, often very strongly, on Wales.

Further than that, Jack Straw's White Paper on Constitutional Reform, published last Summer, kicked House of Lords reform into the long grass - asking parties to form a policy on the issue for the next UK election manifesto. In practice this means that the present situation will continue for some years yet, perhaps beyond the referendum on further powers for the Assembly.

In the meantime, the House of Lords just keeps on going.

Perhaps there's a good reason why Wigley, ap Gwilym and Davies have been not yet been invited? Maybe there's been no-one else nominated, or it's just an administrative oversight....

Or perhaps not - there have been 13 new Lords appointed since January 2008 (the date of the Plaid election), including a deputy chair of the Conservative Party, five independent members appointed by the House of Lords Appointment Commission, three Government ministers (including Mandelson, of course), three bishops and one Law Lord.

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