Lords are leaping


An oft-held criticism of the House of Lords has been that its in-built conservative majority makes a mockery of representative democracy and leads to more labour defeats in the second house than conservative ones. Labour’s reforms have gone some way in correcting this.

It now seems likely that 42-days detention will be bounced back from the Lords by a 3-figure margin. Perhaps it is time to blame this defeat on the upper house’s renunciation of a truly awful piece of legislation rather than the actions of an unrepresentative house keeping the Labour government down.

Labour is unlikely to resort to using the parliament act to force through this controversial legislation as it is unconventional to use the act to achieve anything which does not appear in a party’s manifesto. It would also be the fourth use of the parliament act since 1997 meaning that New Labour was responsible for half of all the uses of the act since 1911 when it was introduced.

Perhaps we can look forward to a reversal of the existing 28-day without charge law in the future to bring us more in-line with other democratic nations. But, for now, at least we can be more confident that soon it will not be legal for a person to be held for over a month without knowing why.