We in the Liberal Party have consistently called for the House of Lords to be abolished as it is and replaced by a predominately elected Senate.
We have a policy that articulates the view that at least 2/3 should be elected and that there should be provision for elected representation from our overseas territories such as the Channel Islands, Gibraltar and Falkland Islands.
I would propose we strengthen our case and argue for 75% of this Senate to be elected by STV across the various regions and nations of the UK, with overseas representation being included under the 25% of the non-directly elected members of the Senate.
Data compiled by the Electoral Reform Society found 455 lords claimed more than the average take-home pay in the UK during 2016/2017 despite the House of Lords sitting no more than 141 days in that year.
In 2016/17 the allowance and travel costs for the House of Lords came to over £19 million.
It is estimated 33 inactive peers collected £462,510 tax-free.
Of the current peers, 109 peers had not spoken in one year with claims exceeding £1m.
The most active peers numbering 300 accounted for 84% of votes cast in the House of Lords.
I would propose we should campaign for a new Senate with 400 members of which 300 would be directly elected.
Alternatively, members may wish to vote for the option proposed by the Electoral Reform Society for a 100 % elected Senate of 300 members.
Lastly, I suggest there is no reason why members of the House Of Lords should be tax exempt. Their income should be subject to income tax akin to any other UK resident.
I hope Liberal Party members at Birmingham on Saturday 5th January will vote to make our policy clearer and more robust in providing government fit for purpose and abolish party patronage at a gross expense to the taxpayer.