One would be hard pressed to find anyone in the UK who seriously argues that the House of Lords is anything more than a constitutional anachronism which must be modernised. Progress has been slow in this regard, but the rhetoric is now largely about how and when.
Nonetheless, the House of Lords does represent an opportunity in its present form for those wishing to see the Scotland Bill amended beyond the minimum acceptable to David Cameron.
This is because the Conservatives have no majority in the House of Lords. If Labour are to have their vision for devolved welfare delivered, the House of Lords may be key.
Given that the SNP fully backs Labour’s amendment, I was a little surprised to read that SNP’s Pete Wishart MP is unwilling to accept support from the “unelected, bloated, ermine-coated” House of Lords (your report, 1 July). A cynic would conclude that the SNP does not actually want more powers for Holyrood.
Mr Wishart further described the House of Lords as being “nothing other than the repository for the donors and cronies of the UK parties”. This overlooks the fact that smaller parties, not least Plaid Cymru, are well represented. Furthermore, can the SNP not be accused of cronyism where Brian Souter’s knighthood is concerned?
So while I understand any reservations the SNP may have about working with the House of Lords to amend legislation, surely it must use all the opportunities it can to be a “stronger voice for Scotland”?
(Dr) Scott Arthur