01 February 2009

Bait and switch

Are we expected to be satisfied with this outcome? The Sunday Times reports:
PEERS who avoid tax or have criminal convictions - such as Lord Archer and Lord Black - are to be expelled from the House of Lords in the wake of the lords for hire scandal.
The reforms are being drawn up by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, in an attempt to restore the Lords’ battered reputation after last weekend’s revelations in The Sunday Times. He plans to enact the legislation necessary to expel them before the general election, which has to be held by May next year.
Peers who are “non-domiciled” or “non-resident” for tax purposes - there are thought to be at least seven - will lose their seats, as will those who have been convicted of a serious criminal offence.

All very good and not before time, some might say. But what about influence-peddling, the sin which has most recently battered the Lords' reputation? Or the contibutory habit of governments of all stripes of appointing political hacks to the upper house regardless of merit?

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