Конференция Иркутск, 22 марта 2013 г


Some Aspects of Civil Society Evolvement in the UK



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Some Aspects of Civil Society Evolvement in the UK

(Based on the Example of the House of Lords Reform Bill)
There are only two countries in the world – UK and Lesotho – with an upper parliamentary chamber that is totally unelected and instead selects its members by birthright and patronage. The fundamental reform needs for democratic development in the Great Britain. At the heart of the reform is the vision of a House of Lords that is to become more modern, more representative and more legitimate – a Chamber fits for the 21st century.

For more than a century goverments in the Great Britain have attempted to find a way to undertake a comprehensive reform of the House of Lords. This process was started by the Parliament Act 1911 which removed the right of the Lords to veto money bills completely, and restricted powers of the House of Lords to public bills other than money bills (allowed them to delay any other bill for a maximum of three sessions). By the way this Act affirmed that nothing in this Act should diminish or qualify the existing rights and privileges of the House of Commons. In accordance with the provisions of the Act the Parliament Act 1949 was enacted which reduced indicating term to two sessions.




The Life Peerages Act 1958 established the modern standards for the creation of life peers by the monarch of the United Kingdom. Life peers are barons and are members of the House of Lords for life, but their titles and membership in the Lords are not inherited by their children. The Peerage Act 1963 included among the peers qualified to sit in the House of Lords all peers in the peerage of Scotland and peeresses in their own right in the peerages of England, Scotland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom.

The House of Lords Act 1999 to restricted membership of the House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage for 90. The Constitutional Reform Act 200 made provisions for modifying the office of the Lord Chancellor, the functions of that office; established the Supreme Court for the United Kingdom, and abolished the appellate jurisdiction of the House of Lords; made provisions about the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, jurisdiction and the judicial functions of the President of the Council; judiciary appointment and discipline.

The House of Lords Reform Bill started in the House of Commons 27 June 2012789. The bill was prepared by the Cabinet Office, presented by the Deputy Prime Minister, supported by the Prime Minister. The bill made provisions concerning the membership of the House of Lords; the disclaimer of life peerages; abolishing of the House of Lords jurisdiction in relation to peerage claims; other provision relating to peerage; and for connected purposes790.

By the bill composition of the House of Lords will change in three periods. In the first electoral period the House of Lords is to consist of –

(a) 120 elected members,

(b) 30 appointed members,

(c) up to 21 Lords Spiritual,

(d) any ministerial members, and

(e) the transitional members for that period.

In the second electoral period the House of Lords is to consist of –

(a) 240 elected members,

(b) 60 appointed members,

(c) up to 16 Lords Spiritual,

(d) any ministerial members, and

(e) the transitional members for that period.

In each subsequent electoral period the House of Lords is to consist of –

(a) 360 elected members,

(b) 90 appointed members,

(c) up to 12 Lords Spiritual, and

(d) any ministerial members.

Accordingly, no-one is a member of the House of Lords by virtue of a peerage.

Appointed members to be a body corporate known as the House of Lords Appointments Commission. In each electoral period, 30 persons are to be appointed as ordinary appointed members of the House of Lords. The appointments are to be made by Her Majesty on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

A person who holds a named office is a member of the House of Lords for the period for which the person holds that office (Named Lords Spiritual). “Named office” means –

(a) Archbishop of Canterbury,

(b) Archbishop of York,

(c) Bishop of London,

(d) Bishop of Durham, or

(e) Bishop of Winchester.

For each electoral period the Church of England may select bishops who do not hold a named office to be members of the House of Lords as ordinary Lords Spiritual.

Persons may be appointed as ministerial members of the House of Lords. Appointments are to be made by Her Majesty on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

On the parliamentary debates on Wednesday 27 June 2012 The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron) said: «We have been discussing this issue (Lords reform) for 100 years, and it really is time to make progress. The truth of the matter is that there are opponents of Lords reform in every party – in the Conservative party, in the Labour party and in the Liberal Democrats in the other place – but there is a majority in this House for a mainly elected House of Lords, and I believe that there is a majority for that in the country. However, if those who support Lords reform do not get out there and back it, it will not happen – that is the crucial point. It is absolutely hopeless – in life and in politics – to do what the Leader of the Opposition is doing: saying that he is in favour of it and he is also against it. It is hopeless791».

The Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, moved the second reading on 9 July 2012. First, there was the democratic principle, secondly, the Bill would strengthen Parliament’s ability to hold the Government to account, by creating a more legitimate House of Lords and by forcing Governments to treat an elected upper Chamber with greater respect. Thirdly, there was a practical reason for reform. The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Nick Clegg) said during the debates: «I should like to make a little progress. The House of Lords is an institution that offers its Members a job for life; an institution that serves the whole of the United Kingdom, yet draws around half its members from London and the south-east; an institution in which there are eight times as many people over 90 as there are people under 40; an institution that has no democratic mandate – none whatsoever – but that exercises real power. The House of Lords initiates Bills, it shapes legislation and, as Governments of all persuasions know, it can block Government proposals, too. These reforms seek to create a democratic House of Lords, matching power with legitimacy792».

Many Tory and Labour backbenchers spoke out against the planned changes. The basic argument against this bill – there was not a practical reason for reform because The House of Lords performs its work well. At the same time some hon. Members offered to hold referendum on the issue.

Notwithstanding that The House divided: Ayes 462, Noes 124, on 6 August 2012 Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that the Bill would not proceed further. On 3 September 2012 he confirmed that it had been withdrawn.

Hereby one of the most important constitutional reform suspended again.



И. А. Жарких
студентка 1 курса
ИЮИ (ф) А ГП РФ


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