Lord Carlile of Berriew is the best mind on the Liberal Democrat benches - in both Houses of Parliament. He was MP for Montgomeryshire from 1983 to 1997. He was also my next door neighbour throughout that period. I have grown to know him well. But its a coincidence that Alex and I have found ourselves in much agreement since I was elected Montgomeryshire MP two years ago. We work closely together in our opposition to the desecration of mid Wales with wind farms and in opposition to the legalisation of assisted suicide. He is a man of great wisdom who should be listened to.
In today's Mail on Sunday, Lord Carlile has written a thunderous denunciation of the Gov'ts proposals to reform the House of Lords. He argues as always with logic. I know that Liberal Democrats throughout Britain will be stunned by the forcefulness of his intervention. Some quotes from his article should be repeated over and over again. And listened to. Its the voice of reason, experience and a brilliant mind.
Lord Carlile says "I cannot support....a shambolic, ill-conceived and politically naive venture. It will diminish Parliament, produce poorer laws and deprive the country of a remarkable and expert House.." He goes on .."We should be proud of something that works well for us. Under the abolition proposals, all of it is to be trashed in the name of a false view of what is democratic......the public would barely have a say in the choice of the elected members of the new House of Lords. The selection of regional list candidates would be subject only to internal party procedures, potentially decided in the tribal atmosphere of party committees, a recipe for forms of demagoguery, corruption and false influence...." And then he says of the new Lords.."They would challenge the authority of the Commons at every stage - and why not, if they were elected. This is a recipe for constitutional chaos." This is a total demolition job.
I also watched Lord Strathclyde outlining his support for the proposals to Andrew Neil at lunchtime. Couldn't make up my mind whether his enthusiasm for how well the current House of Lords works was greater or lesser than his enthusiasm for its abolition and replacement by the new proposals.