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  • AQA Component 3.1.1: The nature and sources of the British constitution: changing composition of the House of Lords

  • Edexcel Component 2: 1.4: The constitution: Debates on further reform

Background: what you need to know

House of Lords reform is back on the agenda. Labour object to two features of the current, largely appointed chamber — its lack of democratic accountability and the limited representation of different UK regions. Keir Starmer is therefore proposing an elected chamber, arguing that this is needed to restore trust in the political system. This is an idea which has been put forward before but has not thus far been acted upon. Labour’s plan is subject to further consultation on the details.

Click to read the article below and then answer the questions:

Labour explores replacing House of Lords with elected chamber

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • ‘House of Lords reform is necessary to enable UK democracy to function effectively.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement. [25 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 2

  • Evaluate the view that the House of Lords requires further reform.

    You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    TIP: The article does not spell out the points that could be used in defence of the current composition of the Lords, but you must be able to offer a two-sided argument. The main one is the potential loss of individuals with specific areas of expertise (retired armed service chiefs and captains of industry for example) who would mostly be unwilling to fight elections. There is a risk that the second chamber could be dominated by professional politicians, making it too similar to the House of Commons.

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

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