11 APRIL 1925, Page 2

In the House of Lords on Thursday, April 2nd, Lord

Birkenhead, who professed to speak for himself and not for the Government, sketched a scheme for reform of the Upper House. From our point of view the whole debate was satisfactory, for idle and dangerous talk about " strengthening " the House of Lords as against the Commons was conspicuously absent. It was almost unanimously agreed that whatever reform there might be must be conducted within the four corners of the Parliament Act. Lord Oxford, who was present, smiled with grim complacency, as well he might. If only the Referendum were added to the machinery of the Con- stitution the controversy about the Parliament Act would be ended, never to be heard of again. We regret that Lord Birkenhead did not follow up Lord Cave's recent statement about the merits of the Referendum, but Ur other respects he was sound enough. He ruled out altogether any idea of introducing an electoral principle into the House of Lords. He wanted merely to purge the Lords by requiring that some qualification, besides mere hereditary right, should be proved before a writ of summons was issued. Besides that he would allow the Government of the day to appoint a certain number of " Lords of Parliament."

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