New Lord Speaker backs 'vigorously' cutting the number of peers

New Lord Speaker backs 'vigorously' cutting the number of peers

New Lord Speaker backs ‘vigorously’ cutting the number of peers by 200 to match the House of Commons as he demands ‘face-to-face’ talks with Boris Johnson on shaking up Parliament

  • New Lord Speaker Lord McFall backed reducing number of peers in Parliament 
  • Said House of Lords should be ‘vigorously continuing’ efforts to reduce numbers
  • Lord McFall demanded ‘face-to-face’ meeting with Boris Johnson to discuss plan

The new Lord Speaker has called for the number of peers to be ‘vigorously’ reduced as he demanded a ‘face to face’ meeting with Boris Johnson to discuss plans to shake up Parliament. 

Lord McFall, who has just taken over the role from Lord Fowler, said the upper chamber should be continuing to look at shrinking to the size of the House of Commons. 

At the moment there are approximately 800 peers compared to 650 MPs in the Commons. 

There are long-running efforts to reduce the number of MPs to 600 and Lord McFall said the House of Lords should have ‘no more’ members than the Commons. 

Lord McFall said he wanted to meet with Mr Johnson to discuss the need for reform ‘eye to eye’.          

Lord McFall, the new Lord Speaker, said the upper chamber should be continuing to look at shrinking to the size of the House of Commons

Lord McFall said he wanted a ‘face to face’ meeting with Boris Johnson to discuss reforming the House of Lords

Lord McFall, now a non-affiliated peer who previously served as a Labour minister, told BBC Radio 4’s The Westminster Hour programme: ‘We should certainly be vigorously continuing to look at reducing the size of the House to a level which is no more than the House of Commons.

‘I don’t rule out going along to see Boris Johnson on that particular thing because actually when I was in the Palace the other day there he did call me out as I was passing to congratulate me. 

‘And I did say to him, “look, I hope to come and see you soon” and he said “fine”, so I think we will continue that conversation.’

Pressed on whether he believed Mr Johnson would listen to calls to reduce the number of peers by approximately 200, Lord McFall said: ‘The only way you can get a satisfactory outcome or process is to engage face to face, eye to eye, and I would like that opportunity to talk to him on that one to one level.’

He added: ‘I would say to him that the House of Lords, the whole House of Lords, is behind the Burns report because the House has agreed on that and we would like to find a decent way of ensuring that we get the size of the House down as a result of it and I’ve got the whole House behind me on that.’ 

The Burns report, published in 2017, recommended capping the number of peers at 600 and introducing 15-year fixed terms for new peers.   

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