If Parliament accepts changes to the law proposed by Justice Secretary Jack Straw, some legislators will be free to resign from the House of Lords, hereditary legislators will not be able to hand on their seats to their children and the House will be able to expel legislators for serious misconduct. But the people would have no more control over these legislator than at present.
The reforms in a constitutional reform bill proposed by Mr. Straw would mean that some legislators-for-life will hold their seats in the legislature for life only if they choose to. If they wish to resign they will be able to do so.
Hereditary legislators will, however, continue to be legislators until they die. But another reform proposed by Mr. Straw will stop their children inheriting the seat.
Mr. Straw also intends to introduce another bill that would provide for election to the House of Lords, but probably only for 80% of the legislators. In any case there is little likelihood of this reform being approved by Parliament before the general election.
Allowing "life peers" to resign as legislators is widely believed to be intended in large part to allow Peter Mandelson, recently made a legislator-for-life, to advance his political career in the House of Commons again if he wishes. Legislators who do give up their seats in the House of Lords will keep the feudal title of "Lord".
Even if the reforms are agreed, after ten years of a Labour Party government, Britain is likely still to have legislators who have no accountability to the people.