Clare Short's decision to resign the Labour whip was "stupid", former Labour minister Tony Benn told the Politics Show on Sunday.
Mr. Benn, a cabinet minister in the 1960s and 1970s who stood down as a Labour MP in 2001, acknowledged that Clare Short had raised important issues which need to be considered.
But he said the conclusion she had reached was "absurd".
He also attacked plans reported on Sunday to reform the House of Lords: "I think it's utterly ridiculous. What the Prime Minister has done is to modernize the House of Lords, back six hundred years.
"When the Lords began there were no hereditary peers, they were all the Kings cronies, and he's reinstated that system and calls it modernization.
"Now - got a scheme that will appoint people, half will be elected, I mean it's ridiculous.
"In a democracy, you vote for the people who make the laws you're expected to obey. And the Prime Minister, no Prime Minister wants democracy because he depends upon the patronage to control MPs and everybody else."
Let us know what you think.
The Politics Show Sunday 22 October 2006 at 12:00 BST on BBC One.
You can reach the programme by e-mail at the usual address or you can use the form below to e-mail the Politics Show.
You will be returned to the Politics Show website after submitting the form.
Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all emails will be published.