House of Lords reform debate refers to Leicester law scholar

Posted by pt91 at Jul 16, 2012 04:35 PM |
Work by a University academic mentioned in House of Commons Debate

 An academic from our School of Law was one of very few constitutional scholars mentioned in the recent House of Commons Debate on the House of Lords Reform Bill.

Dr Paul Behrens from the School of Law discussed the Bill in an article published by the Belfast Telegraph on 9 July 2012. He drew particular attention to the fact that the new House of Lords was hailed as a chamber with “regional representation”, but that it fell short of the aims of true regionalism.

His work was also mentioned on the same day in the House of Commons. Mr Ian Lucas (formerly Under-Secretary of State for Business and Regulatory Reform) referred to the fact that a purely mathematical approach to the allocation of seats did not take into account the different nations of the UK and explained that that point had been:

well made by Dr Paul Behrens of the University of Leicester, who refers to the very different approaches taken in the United States and German constitutions.

In his article, Dr Behrens noted that the allocation of seats was weighted considerably in favour of England. The Bill envisages three elections before the House would reach its full strength. At each of these elections, Scotland will get ten peers, Wales six and Northern Ireland three, whereas England will get a hundred and one. It would take the combined power of Northern Ireland, Scotland and four Welsh peers just to outvote the South East of England.

He drew the comparison to the German Federal Council, in which the sixteen States of Germany are represented. Each State is given a minimum of three seats, and States whose population has reached a particular size (2m, 6m and 7m respectively) are given additional seats. The maximum number of seats a State can have, is six.

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