Survation polling for the Daily Mirror shows support for the House of Lords but also significant reform

A Survation poll for today’s Daily Mirror has shown that despite the failures of attempts to reform the House of Lords so far this Parliament, there remains considerable public support for major changes to the upper house.

76% of the people asked responded that they would prefer that the House of Lords moved to a new system with members elected for fixed terms. Only 11% supported the current system of appointing members for life at the suggestion of political leaders. There was, however, general support for the continued existence of an upper chamber, with 49% thinking that the House of Lords should continue to exist, either in its current or a revised form, compared with only 32% who wanted to abolish the House of Lords entirely and move to a unicameral parliament.

Other aspects of the House of Lords also attracted strong views. Particularly notable was public support for the introduction of measures similar to those in the House of Commons that bar members who have served substantial jail terms. 78% of respondents were of the opinion that those who had served time in jail for a criminal offence should not be allowed to sit in the House of Lords.

People also remain unhappy with the fact that the partially completed reforms under New Labour still leave 92 hereditary peers in the House, with 53% of the public saying it was “wrong” that hereditary peers still had seats in the Lords, compared to only 23% who thought it was “right”.

In general there was considerable dissatisfaction with the House of Lords, with only 27% of respondents thinking that it “does  a good job of representing Britain today” and only 17% saying it “provides good value for money”  – though of course it’s unlikely a much higher proportion would say that the House of Commons provided “good value for money” either. The fact that politicians are generally unpopular should not itself be seen as hugely surprising, but it is clear that the House of Lords is suffering from particular problems of public dissatisfaction. Just because Lords reform is, for the time being, off  the current political agenda does not mean that politicians would be wise to forget about it entirely – as this poll shows, the unfinished business of Lords reform continues to contribute to a lack of public confidence in our governing institutions.

Data tables for this poll can be found here.

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