Sunday 19 Aug 2018 | 17:15 | SYDNEY
Sunday 19 Aug 2018 | 17:15 | SYDNEY

The filibuster hits the UK


Fergus Hanson


28 January 2011 09:13

There was an entertaining piece in yesterday's NY Times on proposed changes to Britain's electoral laws, including the reduction of the number of seats in the Commons. The UK Lords lack a filibuster mechanism but they have invented a crafty alternative:

Normally, opposition parties adopt a a spirit of compromise and bonhomie in the House of Lords. Not this time. The government seems unwilling to budge, and Labour has resorted to virtually unprecedented delaying tactics.

These include proposing picayune amendments — more than 270 so far — discussing them for hours, and then, because they have no chance of passage, withdrawing them.

...With each amendment, multiple Labour Lords rise to add their remarks to those of their companions. They reminisce about their experiences as young members of the House of Commons, discuss the rivers of Scotland, expound on how hard it is to drive around Wales when there is no cellphone coverage, talk about the demographic diversity of London and lament the communication problems faced by impoverished constituents without cars or computers who want to contact their legislators.

Follow Fergus on Twitter @FergusHanson.