So what about reform, short of electing it? Matt Ridley reports a gradual consensus is building inside the Lords that they should use this crisis to reform themselves, "probably by bringing in some combination of a retirement age, a minimum attendance requirement and a rebalancing of party strengths by internal election".
So, after retirements are taken into account, the parties would vote out a proportion of their members so their strengths reflected either the votes cast at the last election or the seats won in the Commons (or an average of the two). The size of the house would shrink to match that of the Commons, though with cross-benchers retaining the balance of power.My own preference is for party voting strengths in the Lords to reflect votes cast at the last general election.
I would also not appoint members as life peers, but as senators, a designation they would lose once they were no longer active members.
Ridley looks at some issues:
Ukip might need extra peers. It currently has three — 108 fewer than the Liberal Democrats, despite getting 60 per cent more votes in the last general election.Nothing wrong with that, though this makes it less likely to get past the political establishment.
The Scottish Nationalists might be granted a proportionate number of seats that they could choose to leave vacant if they wished (they currently refuse to appoint peers).That would be up to them.
Some provision would need be made for rolling retirements to enable the introduction of new blood.Indeed. Perhaps senators should have a maximum term of ten years.