There Will Be an AV Election in the Lords

9 Feb
View of the House of Lords Chamber in the Pala...

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As anyone who has followed proceedings in the House of Lords, with regard to the Bill that could bring about a referendum for a fairer voting system for Westminster elections, the Labour peers have dragged their heels.

There are still 92 positions for hereditary peers in the House of Lords. This was the number that was decided upon in 1999 would exist until all hereditary positions were removed. However, when one of that number dies, there is a by-election in the upper chamber. Normally this is an election by the members of that peers political designation to keep the balance as it is.

The death on Christmas Eve of Lord Strabolgi necessitates just such a by-election. The timing of this event, Lord Strabolgi’s political history and the means to elect his replacement leads to an ironic coincidence.

For many years Lord Strabolgi was a Labour peer for most of life (even being a front bencher) although he was recently technically an independent as one of the deputy speakers. He was one of only four Labour hereditary peers in that original panel of 92. Today’s announcement of the by-election to take place on 22 March comes while their Lordships are still debating the Bill that contains the referendum on the Alternative Vote. The means of electing Lord Strabolgi’s replacement is ALTERNATIVE VOTE!

If Lord Strabolgi had not been a deputy speaker only the Labour Peers would be ranking their candidates in order of preference on 22 March. As it is all the life peers will have a say in selecting a replacement.

However, if it is good enough for the largely unelected Upper Chamber of Parliament to elect the only elected element to their chamber why is the Alternative Vote not good enough to fill the fully elected House of Commons?

AV is used in many ways by the political classes in the UK for elections among themselves. Why? Because they see it as a fairer way to come to a result. Yet some of those political classes don’t think the people should have the same chance as they give themselves. That’s why Yes! to Fairer Votes are campaigning for that change. That’s why people are calling from our phone bank in Belfast to tell others about the referendum.

You to can get involved email northernireland(at)yestofairervotes(dot)org(dot)uk (replacing the relevant bits) or call us on (028) 9089 1798 to get involved today.

Stephen Glenn is the Northern Ireland Organiser for Yes! to Fairer Votes


One Response to “There Will Be an AV Election in the Lords”


  1. YES! vote will have real impact – Cllr Niall Kelly « fairer votes belfast - February 9, 2011

    […] There Will Be an AV Election in the Lords ( […]

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