Sunday, July 08, 2012

Paddy Ashdown on Lords reform - and Alex Carlile

The former Lib Dem leader has an article in the Mail on Sunday today defending the Coalition's plans for reform of the House of Lords:
The Cameron/Clegg reform Bill does not ‘trash’ the Lords, as some claim – it retains the best of what we have now and discards the worst. The more democratic ‘new Lords’ will remain different from the Commons – they will be more separated from the short-termism of a five-year electoral cycle and less likely to kowtow to the whips and the media. 
The Commons will remain more powerful and finally able to get its way if it insists. Which means more democracy, but no deadlock. That’s proper democracy. 
Some write of the ‘amazing expertise’ in the Lords. They are right to do so – we have some eminent, independent figures there. But they are far outnumbered by the retired, the rejected, the defeated and the sometimes dead-beat from the Commons.
And he goes on to show that he has forgotten none of his training in unarmed combat by felling Alex Carlile, who wrote an article critical of the plans last week:
My colleague Alex Carlile, who wrote in this paper last Sunday, is not a Lord because he is a great legal eagle (which he undoubtedly is), but because he is a former Lib Dem MP. I should know. It was me who recommended him for a peerage.
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