DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER – HOUSE OF LORDS – 18 January 2011

Dr Julian Lewis: What process does the Deputy Prime Minister plan to follow to develop and implement proposals for a wholly or mainly elected second Chamber?

[The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Nick Clegg): I am chairing a cross-party Committee to look at all aspects of House of Lords reform. We plan to publish a draft Bill in the coming period for pre-legislative scrutiny by – we hope – a Joint Committee of both Houses. Then it will be for the Government to decide on the introduction of the Bill.]

[SUPPLEMENTARY:] Given that an all-elected upper House would, in effect, double the number of MPs while resulting in hundreds of highly skilled and eminent men and women being thrown out, what effects does the Deputy Prime Minister think will be applied to the legislative process as a result of this brilliant idea? Will it lead to greater effectiveness, greater prestige or just more machine politics?

[The Deputy Prime Minister: My own view, as someone who has always supported greater democracy in the other place and greater accountability to the British people, is that the legitimacy of the other place would be enhanced. There are plenty of other bicameral democracies around the world that have two elected Chambers of different size with different mandates, elected even by different systems, which work extremely well in striking the right balance between effectiveness and legitimacy.]