Bring the House of Lords to Newcastle
View of the House of Lords Chamber in the Palace of Westminster, London, looking from the galleries towards the Throne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Meanwhile, Parliament should move to the North, says the leader of Durham County Council. Simon Henig called for a radical shift of power out of London, declaring the Government's plans to overhaul the House of Lords were insufficient.
Just 3% of peers give their permanent address as being in the North East, while 54% say their main address is in London and the South East.
The Government wants a smaller 300-member upper chamber, with 240 elected peers and 60 appointees serving single 15-year terms. Between five and seven members would represent electoral districts, based on regions in England.
The Government says they could become involved in regional issues, such as development of high-speed rail.
Peers and MPs looking at Lords reform have backed election of members by the STV system of proportional representation, recommending a method used in New South Wales allowing voters to rank individual candidates and to vote by party.
But they said there should be 450 peers serving 15-year non-renewable terms, with 80% elected and 20% nominated to meet demands to be a revising chamber.
Elected peers could get a salary of slightly more than £40,000 annual salary.
Under that blueprint, there would be 15 elected North East peers. London and the South East's share of peers would drop from 54% to 25% - reflecting the electorate's size.
Newcastle City Council Labour leader Nick Forbes said peers would enjoy a "big Geordie welcome" and better quality of life in the city.
Joking about available land, he said: "If there was interest in the House of Lords moving to Newcastle, we could revise our plans for the Science City central site. It has even got its own borehole."
More seriously, Coun Forbes warned of "growing" centralisation in London with the loss of the region's development agency.
"Having regional representation in an elected House of Lords would be an excellent way of redressing the democratic deficit that the North East now faces," he said.
A Liberal Democrat source said the Government's reforms would see a "radical" increase in regional representation.
Durham County Council leader Simon Henig said: "It would be great if the entire Houses of Parliament shifted as well as Government departments."
He suggested historic cities as prime locations, potentially Durham and York, to bring jobs to the North and save money - but warned the Government was not listening.
He stressed measures were needed to avoid a replica House of Commons, adding: "What better way than with regional elections?"
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