18 October 2009

Just who does Lord Adonis think he is?

Only a few hours after posting my latest grumbles about the House of Lords, I was flabbergasted to be greeted by the appearance on the BBC website the following staggering piece of presumptuousness from our unelected Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis - to which all I can say is:

How dare such a person have the cheek to demand the right to speak the chamber of the elected House of Commons?

For me, the presence of Adonis in the House of Lords at all, let alone his recent elevation to the cabinet, sums up everything that's wrong with our second chamber.

After all, here is someone whose political career has included avoiding elections (see HERE) and changing sides (he was a LibDem advisor to Paddy Ashdown before defecting to Labour) when it suited him - and who is presumably only in the cabinet now because Gordon Brown had run out elected MPs considered 'reliable' enough for such high office.

I've never posted a whole web page from another site before, but it will at least save you from looking it up and, perhaps also explain why, on this occasion, long words fail me:


Peers 'should appear in Commons'

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis has said he wants to be able to answer MPs' questions in the House of Commons.

Current rules say peers who serve as ministers can face direct inquiries only in the House of Lords.

But Lord Adonis told BBC One's Politics Show he and Business Secretary Lord Mandelson would be "delighted" to face MPs in the Commons chamber.

He has written to the Speaker to suggest this, but said the Commons was not the "fastest-moving" institution.

The promotion of peers to cabinet rank means some of the leading figures in government cannot face questions from their own and opposition MPs in the Commons itself.

Scrutiny concerns

More junior ministers deputise for their bosses at the despatch box.

So, for instance, Lord Mandelson and his Conservative shadow, Ken Clarke, never sit opposite each other in Parliament.

Critics say this reduces the effective scrutiny of government.

Lord Adonis said that, as he had to appear before Commons select committees, there was some direct questioning of him by MPs.

But he said he and Lord Mandelson "would be delighted to answer questions" in the main Commons chamber.

Lord Adonis said he had written to Speaker John Bercow, but added: "I don't think the Commons, when it comes to reforming itself, is the fastest-moving of institutions."

The peer, who was an adviser to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, reiterated that he would not serve under David Cameron if the Conservatives won the next general election.
He said he had "no interest" in such an arrangement.

2 comments:

dreamingspire said...

All together now, sing "The times they are a-changing".

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