By nature Britain adopts a bicameral parliamentary system and has done since the introduction of Parliament in the 1700s. Of course, the Labour Party isn’t shy of making decisions that has affected the upper chamber. In 1997, Tony Blair’s party manifesto promised a wide reform to the House of Lords, part of which being an early abolition of hereditary peers. Blair later abandoned his idea of a completely- elected upper chamber and would later opt for a majority elected through indirect regional elections, and the number of hereditary peers would be later slashed from 750 to 92 with the passage of the House of Lords Act of 1999.
Under the proposals of the recently-reshuffled shadow cabinet Senators would be elected from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions instead of from constituencies as MPs are. But why has Labour decided to announce such plans? Well, many believe the thinking behind it is Miliband’s plans to re-galvanise English devolution and to end centralisation to the nation’s capital. The Labour leader proclaimed a new deal to provide the biggest shake-up in English devolution for 100 years and regularly talks of giving fresh new powers to local councils, such as the plans to help give locals “a leg up” on the housing ladder by giving them powers to build new homes. The Labour leader is quoted as saying "We need to do so much more to reverse a century of centralisation that we've seen in our country.” Whist there is truth in the fact that London has more members in the House of Lords than the East Midlands, West Midlands, the North East and Wales and Northern Ireland combined, is such a radical constitutional change really the answer? Surely Mr Miliband will soon be looking for the support of Londoners, not only as we enter a general election, but also as the party will look to succeed in the capital’s mayoral contest now that Boris Johnson has confirmed his plans to stand as an MP.