Wednesday, October 13, 1999 Published at 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
The parties views on Lords reform
The UK's major parties have given their evidence to Lord Wakeham's Royal Commission on Lords reform - here's what they said.
Abolishing hereditary peers was a Labour manifesto commitment during the 1997 election but what the party wants to see replace the current House of Lords once the hereditary peers have been removed from Parliament is less clear.
In its submissions to the Wakeham Commission the party called for a "representative" chamber with a "strong independent element". The party is also in favour of representation from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
But little was said about the party's views on how the new chamber should be selected - whether by election or appointment.
The party seems to be against a fully-elected second chamber saying it could undermine the authority of the House of Commons as the senior institution.
They were the last government to seriously reform the House of Lords when the passed the 1911 Parliament Act, which dramatically reduced peer power.
In their submission to the Royal Commission they set out plans for a directly-elected "Senate" made up of 261 members.
The Senators would be elected from across the UK using the massive constituencies used in the European elections.
Elections would be held every two years with a third of the senate being elected at each poll.
Predictably for the Liberal Democrats the elections would be held under proportional representation.
A Stronger Parliament - the Tory submission to the Wakeham Commission sets out the case for a body with more power to scrutinise and amendment legislation and is "totally opposed to the creation of an entirely-nominated House of Lords".
Like Labour, the Conservatives are unsure on how exactly members of the new body should be chosen but they have called for a limit on their numbers - 659 the same as the Commons.
The Conservatives also are in favour of raising the profile of the Lords by holding a weekly question session - like prime minister's question time in the Commons.
Scottish National Party
Speaking as the government announced its plans for reform, party leader Alex Salmond said: "I do not think there is any need for the House of Lords. But if you are going to have it, it should be directly elected."
To what extent the SNP is likely to welcome a reformed upper house will therefore depend on its democratic content.
They also insist that the new chamber should have a statutory duty to consult the assembly and reflect its views when revising primary legislation.
At present the party has only one representative in the House of Lords - Lord Elis-Thomas.
His decision to take up a seat in the Lords in 1992 revealed the extent of Plaid's commitment to democratic reform as many in the party were clearly unhappy that they had sent a member to the unelected second chamber.
UK Politics Contents
A-Z of Parliament