Peer pressure to boost Lords reform?
On the Turkeys/Early Christmas principle, a lot of peers instinctively oppose reform of the House of Lords, but there is one internal factor that may work in favour of change - it's getting rather crowded in the Bishops' Bar.
Forget the arguments about the nature and structure of parliamentary institutions in a democratic polity, forget the manifesto promises and a century of constitutional debate. When a chap can't get a table for dinner in the Peers' Dining Room, and when Noble Lords have to order their G&Ts in the Pugin Room to avoid the crush, there's a problem.
With a membership now in excess of 800, and more and more new peers arriving every week, the Upper House's normal collegiality is being strained by sheer population pressure.
The comment by "Ex Engineer" that the Lords should come up with a retirement mechanism for their more emeritus members is spot on - but difficult to deliver, since the writ of summons by which peers are appointed confers life membership, posing a knotty legal problem.
So most solutions revolve around some kind of voluntary recusal - and some include the prospect of continued access to the catering facilities and the Library.
Most schemes for moving to an elected house envisage phasing in the elected element, rather than expelling the current membership en masse - with reformers preferring to rely on what they tactfully refer to as "natural wastage" rather than provoke last ditch resistance to their schemes.
But the prospect of reduced crowding may generate more enthusiasm for change on the red benches than the constitutional case for reform ever will.