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Lords away! Is 99 years 9 months long enough?

9 August 2007

Anthony Barnett (London, OK): The 100th anniversary of the 1911 Parliament Act can be spotted on the political horizon. Noting that, exactly 96 years ago today, the Act stated that there should be "a Second Chamber constituted on a popular instead of hereditary basis", Unlock Democracy have called for a democratic second chamber to be finally elected in May 2011, just three months short of the Act's centenary,

We call on the Government to commit to a timetable which would lead to the first elections taking place in May 2011, coinciding with the next Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly elections. This would be a realistic and practical deadline that would work well within the existing electoral calendar.

The call is part of the peculiarly named, indeed oxymoronic Elect the Lords campaign. But it is a neat idea to set a target date like this. Perhaps that campaign can now be renamed, '99 09 is enough'.

Parliament has now voted for an elected second chamber, and if its views are to mean anything, perhaps now is the time to create one.... But thave they thought rhrough the consequences? What is the new democratic upper house supposed to do? Just asking.

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