Issues I have with our current system:
The House of Lords is democratically unaccountable.
…But it’s quite useful having independent experts sitting on the crossbenches scrutinising legislation
Under the current electoral system, lots of people’s votes don’t count because they live in a safe seat or they favour a fringe party. A system of proportional representation would reflect public opinion better.
…But the British like first-past-the-post, as the AV referendum showed (though I realise that other forms of PR have not been tested).
First-past-the-post has some strengths, including a straightforward system, where every citizen has a single accountable representative in Parliament.
…But it enables the UK to be governed with the votes of just over a third of the people who turn out.
The House of Lords becomes a mostly elected second chamber, under proportional representation. This could be on regional lists or a national one. A national one could help ensure adequate representation of minority groups.
Peers would be elected for 15 years with a third elected every five years (to coincide with elections to the Commons). The 20 percent or so crossbenchers stay put (potentially look at giving them fixed terms too).
Because it is elected, it should have greater clout in challenging the government. This could force the government of the day to moderate its policies to reach compromises that better reflect popular opinion. This constitutional knocking of heads together would force a change in the culture of the parties.
People could start voting the way they really want to – going for the best local option for the Commons and their favoured party for the Lords.
Issues with this model:
Lists favour party loyalists rather than independents. That said, the current House of Lords favours party loyalists too, and the proposed system would retain crossbenchers - and thus an element of independence. The Commons could become more independent due to new voting patterns.
It could hinder decisive government and breed inertia.
How would we transition to a new system?