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Britain's Labor Party vows to overhaul upper house of parliament if it comes to power

Britain's Labor Party vows to overhaul upper house of parliament if it comes to power
Britain's Labor Party vows to overhaul upper house of parliament if it comes to power

 



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MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Britain's opposition Labor Party, currently ahead in opinion polls ahead of next month's election, said it would reform Parliament's upper house to remove the right to hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords.

The centuries-old ornate red and gold Great Hall of the Palace of Westminster currently has around 800 members, whose places are obtained according to arcane rules.

Most are appointed by the Prime Minister after being nominated for a life peerage by political parties or recommended by a nominations committee, but this also includes bishops of the Church of England and some by virtue of aristocratic birth .

There are currently 92 hereditary peers.

Although the Upper House has far less power than the House of Commons elected after the 1911 reforms, there have long been calls for an overhaul of the current system, with criticism that the appointment system leads to cronyism.

Questions were asked when former Prime Minister Boris Johnson named one of his former aides as the youngest member of the Lords, aged 30.

In its manifesto, a document outlining the policies it would implement in government, Labor said it would begin “immediate modernization” by legislating to remove hereditary peers and for a mandatory retirement age of 80 .

“Labour will ensure that all of its peers meet the high standards that the public expects of them, and we will introduce a new requirement for participation while strengthening the circumstances in which disgraced members can be removed,” the manifesto said.

The party said its proposals would be an improvement, but it pledged to “replace the House of Lords with an alternative second chamber more representative of regions and nations” and would consult on the proposals.

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