In the annual Longford Lecture, civil rights lawyers intend to challenge any House of Lords reform that includes unelected elements. They view the issue of one man one vote as sacrosanct and intend to refer any reform to the European Court at Strasbourg on the grounds that the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees citizens a free vote on their legislature.
This has problems on many levels, but the first is that legislative reform should be decided by directly elected representatives, within a framework of law. The Convention is not the right channel for constitutional reform, since it bypasses and subverts the ballot box. Despite the moral cloak of democracy that Clive Stafford Smith expresses, he hopes to impose his views by judgment, not through an election.
To make reform more palatable, Jack Straw is no longer insisting on compulsory dismissals from the remaining hereditary peers or life peers. This may swing the Tories onside since they had most to lose, if there had been expulsions. It is still unclear whether reforms will pass, but the short-term effect will be a larger Chamber as appointed and elected members jostle together adding a complex dynamic to thsi fast-changing legislature.