A petition calling for a referendum on the abolition of the House of Lords will be considered for a debate in Parliament after receiving more than 100,000 signatures.
The issue began to gain traction after Peers in the unelected upper house voted last Thursday, by a strong majority, against a clean Brexit, which was backed in the 2016 referendum by more than 17 million people.
The petition says the House of Lords “is a place of patronage where unelected and unaccountable individuals hold a disproportionate amount of influence and power which can be used to frustrate the elected representatives of the people”.
Former minister Lord Forsyth had warned the “unelected house” against “playing with fire” ahead of the anti-Brexit vote, calling it “a campaign putting peers against the people”.
“Time to close the House of Lords down and kick [former Prime Minister David] Cameron and [Tony] Blair’s mates out,” blasted former UKIP leader Nigel Farage shortly later.
— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) April 23, 2018
Leading Brexiteer and Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg also spoke out against “cave dwellers” in the Lords, saying they were working to frustrate Brexit and are “contemptuous of democracy” and “out of touch with the people”.
“Peers receiving large pensions from the European Union [are] voting to protect their vested interests,” he added.
“Consistently, polls have shown, that 60 to 70 per cent of people have accepted the result [of the Brexit vote] and want us to get on with it.”
The Electoral Reform Society, which campaigns for a democratically elected House of Lords, argues the house is bloated and expensive, claiming on their website:
“The House of Lords totally fails to represent the diverse skills and experience of UK citizens. It is out of control – with over 800 members the second largest legislative chamber in the world after China.
“And it costs far too much for an institution that fails to reflect the British public.”
As an alternative, they propose a 300-member house elected with proportional representation, which would give small parties such as UKIP a louder voice.