The House of Lords has often been subject to considerable criticism on a number of different grounds, and the sheer amount written on the subject of House of Lords reform illustrates that our upper house sits uneasily in our constitutional framework of a modern, democratic society. But despite the theoretical imperfections of the House of Lords, it is rarely criticised for what it does or the way it does it. Too little of the debate on House of Lords reform over the past decade or so has appreciated this simple and important fact.
Instead of ensuring that the House of Lords actually does its job, far too much attention has been focused on whether or not the House of Lords should be elected, appointed, or a bit of both. A lot of attention has been paid to the theoretical imperfections of the Lords, but very little attention has been paid to why the House of Lords is actually seen as in need of reform and what those reforms actually might be, or what effect the issue of composition will have on what it actually does or the way it does it.
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