The joint committee on Lords reform is holding a press conference at 11am but the report is out and it makes interesting* reading. The gist is as we reported last Thursday, ie it supports 80 per cent elected Lords but recommends a referendum first.

But there are other lines in there which are worth noting. The committee:

- Wants the senators to have a minimum threshold of activity, and should be forced to stand for re-election if they attend fewer than 50 per cent of sitting days in a session.

- Thinks the issue of salaries and allowances should be delegated to Ipsa. But it agrees salaries and second homes are needed.

- Admits there is a problem with the relationship between upper and lower house but denies that Commons’ primacy should be enshrined in legislation. Instead a joint committee should consider the conventions governing the relationship.

- Elections should be held on the same day as general elections – the advantages being reduced cost, avoiding mid-term protest voting and minimum disruption to the government’s legislative programme.

- Agrees with the government’s proposals for non-renewable 15-year terms (although a minority of members thought a second term of 10 years should be possible).

- Recommends adopting the STV system of proportional representation as used in New South Wales.

* Up to a point

Meanwhile we have an interview with Mark Harper today, the minister in charge of the Lords reform bill.

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