HC Deb 25 October 1966 vol 734 cc822-3
Q2. Mr. Whitaker

asked the Prime Minister whether he plans to introduce legislation to abolish the hereditary right to sit in the House of Lords.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Mr. Whitaker

Would my right hon. Friend agree with me that African people, whom some politicians allege to be not ready for self-government, would laugh at the idea of a partly hereditary legislature as ludicrously backward? How long will it be before my right hon. Friend abolishes this feudalism in accordance with his declared policy to root out conservatism in this country?

The Prime Minister

In previous Questions, for example, on 18th November, last year, and subsequently, we have dealt with whether something needs to be done about the powers of another place as opposed to its composition. As for the Africans, I should say that when I had the privilege of meeting the Council of Chiefs in Rhodesia a year ago its members expressed to me that they were ruling by virtue of their noble blood and they expressed the greatest contempt, I am sorry to say, when I described to them how the late Government in this country had modernised this matter by the Renunciation Act and when I told them of the distinguished ex-peers who had sat by hereditary right and had come to the House of Commons to help us here.

Mr. Frederic Harris

Will the Prime Minister please do nothing about another place which will stop his hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) from eventually being sent there?