There are too many lords. And the prime minister has too much power over appointments, as we have seen this week
- Lord Fowler is lord speaker of the House of Lords
As I sit on the woolsack in the House of Lords for question time, scarcely a week goes by without a peer calling for an inquiry into one subject or another. An inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 emergency; an inquiry into mental health; into prison conditions. Perhaps the time has come for us all to call for an inquiry into the appointments system that has brought us all to the red benches.
I know that there has already been one – an excellent report by a committee under Terry Burns into the size of the House. Indeed, we had a notable success in persuading Theresa May, while prime minister, to pledge herself to a course of “moderation” in making new appointments. But self-evidently, with the new list of 16 appointments published on Tuesday, that has not been enough.