12 APRIL 1935, Page 2

Reform of the Lords Twice within the space of a

week the House of Lords has debated measures affecting its own constitution or powers. Lord Rockley's Bill was a very modest: and innocuous one providing for the creation of a small number of life peers. Lord Rankeillour's measure was a much more challenging one, seeking to increase the powers of the Upper House to maintain itself against the attacks of a hostile House of Commons. The more responsible spokesmen of the Conservative Party, in- cluding Lord.--Hailsham and Lord Cecil, pointed out the impossibility of contemplating any increase of the powers of an unreformed House of Lords. Lord Rankeillour's proposal was fantastic. It is doubtful if it would be feasible to confer greater powers on the Upper House than it now possesses even if Labour and. Liberalism were as strongly represented as Conservatism ; the Commons must always retain ultimate supremacy. The chief obstacle to desirable reforms has lain in the fact that the dominant party in the Lords has always coupled reform with increased powers.