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A bright spring day was fading into evening. High overhead in the clear heavens small rosy clouds seemed hardly to move across the sky but to be sinking into its depths of blue. In a handsome house in one of the outlying streets of the government town of O-- (it was in the year 1842) two women were sitting at an open window; one was about fifty, the other an old lady of seventy.
Peter Raina's magnificent history of Lords reform has already brought into the public domain a mass of original documents and thrown light on the debates they fueled. In Volume 4 he brings his study up to the present age. The Thatcher and Blair governments were both determined to shake up the system, and in such times the old House of Lords began to look more and more outdated. Mrs Thatcher's inaction on the issue only increased calls for abolition or change. So the Blair government grasped the nettle. In one historic Act of Parliament it ejected hereditary peers from the House - except for 92 saved by a last-minute amendment. The negotiations and reactions surrounding this event are recorded here in lively detail. This concluding book brings Peter Raina's History of Lords' Reform up to the end of 2014. It follows on from the banishment of hereditary peers from the House in the name of democracy. This was proclaimed as only the start of more sweeping change. What was to happen next?
Peter Raina's House of Lords Reform recounts the long struggle to bring an ancient institution up to date. The first volume ended in 1937, as crisis overwhelmed Europe. Reform issues were not forgotten, however. This second volume continues the story, presenting a wealth of illuminating records, a great many of them published here for the first time. The 4th Marquess of Salisbury planned changes to the Lords even before the war's end. Further proposals followed after the establishment of the Labour government in 1945. Fearful that its legislation would be blocked, Labour amended the Parliament Act, 1911 to limit the Lords' delaying powers to just one year. Some believed the Upper House would disappear altogether. Salisbury's heir worked hard for preservation, and managed to secure an all-party conference. Its complex schemes and animated discussions are all presented here in original documents. Though the conference failed, Lords Reading, Exeter and Simon continued the effort, with ideas that would eventually bear fruit. They championed the rights of women, self-regulation through standing orders, and the creation of life peers. The Churchill government formed a Lords Reform Committee but could get no further. Then, in an unexpected twist, the cause finally triumphed when Harold Macmillan and the Earl of Home got a one-clause bill through parliament in 1958. The Life Peers Act transformed the nature of British politics.
The First Amendment grants us the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances, which we ought to cherish. But how should we exercise this right? We better do it in a wise way and this book will discuss exactly how. 26 pages.
A young children's book full of pictures and easy to read words...educational and fun...and a moral ending...makes a great gift.
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