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Jeremy Corbyn: The next Labour government will abolish the House of Lords

3 min read

Labour will abolish the House of Lords if it wins the next general election, a spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed.

In comments which go further than the party's previous position, he said the Upper Chamber was an "undemocratic anachronism in the 21st century" and had to go.

He also confirmed that any new Labour peers appointed by the party must pledge to support that policy if it ever comes to a parliamentary vote.

Last year's Labour election manifesto only committed the party to setting up a constitutional convention to examine the case for reform of the UK's political system.

It said: "Our fundamental belief is that the second chamber should be democratically elected. In the interim period, we will seek to end the hereditary principle and reduce the size of the current House of Lords as part of a wider package of constitutional reform to address the growing democratic deficit across Britain."

But speaking after Prime Minister's Questions today, Mr Corbyn's spokesman said: "Jeremy has made clear we want to see the abolition of the House of Lords and its replacement with an elected second chamber and that is well past overdue. It's a basic democratic reform, it must take place.

"It's absurd that we still have this undemocratic anachronism in the 21st century and when Labour is elected we will carry through that pledge.

"The commitment is clear, and by the way, anyone who is appointed to the House of Lords under the existing rules by the Labour party is required to support that."

He added: "We're a democratic party and we support a democratic constitution. This is a long overdue reform. It's extremely hard to argue against and people struggle to do so.

"It's clearly a democratic necessity, Labour has clear positions on these issues and if we're continuing to participate in the House of Lords, then those people who are brought into the House of Lords by the Labour party need to support those clear democratic changes."

Mr Corbyn appointed three new Labour peers last week, to go along with nine Conservatives and one from the DUP.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said: "We have been clear that there should be restraint on new appointments to the House of Lords, combined with an increase in cross-party take-up of retirements.

"In her response to the Burns Report (into the size of the House of Lords), the Prime Minister made clear that she will operate on the basis there will no longer be an automatic entitlement to a peerage for any holder of high office in public life.

"The total size of the Lords has fallen since the Prime Minister took office."

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