Time for House of Lords to become an elected chamber?

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Many of us hold the opinion that some MPs care about their own interests above those of the people that elected them, but, democratically, we can decide which of these people we want to represent us in our Parliament.

However, we do not have any control over who sits in the House of Lords. Unlike the House of Commons, membership of the House of Lords is not democratically elected, but attained by inheritance, appointment, or by virtue of an ecclesiastical role within the Church.

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Recently the Coalition Government passed an EU Bill to the House of Lords for ratification. This Bill was designed to guarantee British voters a referendum on any further loss of sovereignty to Brussels. It seemed like a step in the right direction to those of us who would like our country back.

Unfortunately the Lords defeated and threw out all aspects of this proposed legislation, meaning our sovereignty and ability to rule our own country still lies firmly and squarely with the EU. So, why have Lords and Peers of Great Britain taken this action?

Some of them wear two hats. On the one hand they want UK titles, but on the other they want EU cash. According to the Open Europe thinktank, which campaigns for EU reform, Neil and Glenys Kinnock earned nearly £8m. in salary and allowances from their EU roles and have a combined pension of £164,693. Lord Mandelson earned more than £1m. in salary and allowances as EU Trade Commissioner, received a handout of £311,000 when he stepped down and receives an annual pension of £35,543.

In addition, Ivor Seward Richard’s salary was £80,000 in 1985 with an estimated pension of £10,800. Mr Clinton-Davis’s salary in 1989 was £85,000 and his estimated pension is £12,150. While Leon Britain’s final salary was £185,000 and an estimated pension of £83,000.

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Unlike other outside income, they can keep these payments secret and do not have to declare them in the Lords’ register of interests. Moreover, under a “EU loyalty clause”, anyone who has worked for the EU and speaks out against Europe can be stripped of their pension.

Those in receipt of EU pensions have a vested interest in voting to defend the EU and defeating any legislation that threatens the institution and their futures. The time has come for the Lords to become an elected chamber so this kind of double standard skulduggery can be repressed.

A “declaration of interest” rule should also be adopted to prevent those with a foot in another camp from influencing votes for their own ends. Are those that support the EU ethos saying it is the best way forward for all of us in the UK or just themselves?

I fail to understand how support can be given to any organisation that has not balanced its books for 16 years. The suggestion that nothing is wrong with an institution that adopts accounting practices that would see any company director thrown in jail is an utter disgrace.