Unicameralism is catching…

Just to show that Fine Gael aren’t completely isolated, here is Lord Bingham the almost impossibly illustrious former Lord Chief Justice and senior Law Lord calling for the abolition, not the further reform, of the House of Lords.

Since it is widely believed by those outside the House of Lords itself that it should not, in its present form, continue to exist, and since the only models of reform suggested – appointment, election, or a combination of the two – are open to compelling objections, the case for total abolition is strong.

Part of the analysis is similar to Fine Gael’s of the Seanad – the need to strengthen Parliament. A stronger upper chamber could rival the senior house and create deadlock. No one has so far been able to surmount that objection. And if it isn’t strengthened, what’s the point of it? Bingham’s temporary substitute of a powerless “council of the realm” is bonkers though – with all respect, m’lud. I’m with the Guardian on this. Bingham’s is a counsel of despair. The deadlock problem isn’t insuperable and a democratic amending chamber adds greatly to accountability. Yiou have different electoral cycles, election by PR, a limit of two terms only, a bar on cross over membership with the Commons and keep the exisiting amending powers. I’m still looking forward to Sinn Fein’s election to the Upper House ( both Upper Houses?)

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London