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The House of Lords

By Richard Laming

Published in EUobserver, 23 March 2004

The United Kingdom is caught up in not one but twoconstitutional debates at the moment, and there is an interesting link between the two ofthem.

The first, on the European constitution, is followed closely by readers of EUobserver.com; thesecond, which might be less familiar, focuses on a possible reform of the House of Lords, thesecond chamber in the UK parliament.

The House of Lords is notorious around Europe thanks to its membership, a peculiarcombination of political appointees and descendants of the aristocracy. No other Europeandemocracy, certainly not one with pretensions to lead the modernisation of Europe, givesseats in parliament to people because of favours their ancestors did for a previous monarch.

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