We all need a say on Lords reform

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I HAVE just heard Prime Minister David Cameron explaining why he opposed a referendum on Lords reform while supporting referendums on London and other places having a mayor – the mayoral referendums because lo- cally entrenched politicians were against them and holding them would mean finding out what the people wanted; whereas for Lords reform the entrenched powers in all three parties are in favour of some cosmetic reform.

Mr Cameron appeared to be unaware that he was thus riding two horses in opposite directions. This commitment to democratic sovereignty, but not when it is against your own entrenched interests, is typical of our political class.

Reforming the Lords is as major a constitutional change as we have seen since women got the vote.

If this is not something on which the people’s wishes are to be made known, then Britain is not a democracy.

We should settle this by referendum.

But it should not be the sort of referendum we had on voting reform, where the most popular option, true proportional representation, was deliberately kept off the ballot because the Tories knew it would easily win the day.

We need a proper multi-option run-off referendum under which we, the people, get to decide whether we want a fully elected PR chamber, or, as currently, a fully-appointed one, some mixture of the two or something else.

No decision from which the people are deliberately excluded will get any lasting respect, and parliamentarians are not overly-burdened with popular regard as it is.

Neil Craig, via email

Easy steps to getting fit

IF you’re looking to lose weight, get fit, make new friends or explore your local area, why not take part in our Great British Walking Challenge next month?

The challenge, which lasts the whole of May, is free to enter. All participants have to do is register on www.livingstreets.org.uk/gbwc. Once the challenge begins, a special online calculator will monitor every walk taken (it can add up minutes spent walking, miles covered or steps taken – and even logs the numbers of calories burned).

We want to rack up enough miles to get from John O’Groats to Lands End and perhaps even further. As part of the challenge we’ll be asking people to walk to work and kids to walk to school for at least a week.

Anyone can take part, regardless of age or fitness levels. You can stroll around your neighbourhood, get off the bus a stop early, stretch your legs at lunchtime, or walk to your local shops rather than driving. Every single step counts – and you could compete with your friends and family, neighbours or even work colleagues.

The Great British Walking Challenge shows that you don’t need costly gym sessions or marathon training to get fit and active. Walking is a free and easy way to work more exercise into your daily routine.

Tony Armstrong, chief executive, Living Streets (the national walking charity)

An unwelcome double at pub

WHERE I drink, the beer has gone up 20p as a result of a brewery rise and then the Chancellor’s increase. With 20% VAT on a hot pie, it’s time to forego life’s simple pleasures. Thanks, George.

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