Pendle Liberal Democrat peer Lord Greaves is taking a leading part in the debate on reducing the size of the House of Lords.
Speaking in a House of Lords debate he said: “The problem is that the House of Lords is growing indefinitely. Therefore, unless somebody changes the way in which things are happening, it will continue to grow and at some stage its membership will be over 1,000 which clearly would be a tipping point that would indeed make us look ridiculous.”
Lord Greaves said that before deciding how large the House should be, it ought to agree what is its purpose.
“I think that most of us who are here have a pretty good idea of what it is for, because it is what we do,” Lord Greaves said. “By and large, we do it fairly well.
“The problem is that, increasingly, people out there – the rest of the country and the rest of the world – do not know what we do. They do not understand it, and those journalists who do have given up trying to tell those who do not.”
Lord Greaves said that the House of Lords had seen a dreadful summer in the media. “We have to understand that the tipping point that caused that to happen was nothing to do with the size of the House.
“It was not to do with the Prime Minister appointing new Peers. It was the stupid behaviour, caught by the media, of one particular senior Member of this House. That is the event which put the House of Lords into a sea of ridicule – if that is where we are.”
He said that the suggestion of “one out and one in” was a good idea, although this would not actually reduce the numbers. However, combined with a “self-denying ordinance of no more lists of new peers for the foreseeable future, numbers would start to fall”.
Following the debate, Lord Greaves said: “It is very strange that the House of Lords is going to spend so much time and energy on looking at how to reduce its numbers, while at the same time the Prime Minister David Cameron has just nominated 46 new peers. This has got to stop.”