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Scientists deserve a special place in the Lords, say societies

A proportion of places in a reformed House of Lords should be reserved for members appointed on the basis of skills and expertise in science, engineering, medicine and learning more generally, four UK learned societies have said.

In a joint letter to the Times on 9 July, the chief executives of the British Academy, the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Academy of Medical Sciences warn that a mainly elected House of Lords would lead to decline in expertise.

“The current House of Lords has benefited from the wisdom and interventions of philosopher Onora O’Neill, scientist Martin Rees, engineer Alec Broers and medical scientist John Walton, among others,” reads the letter. “The country and our democracy would stand to lose if the second chamber was deprived of expertise of this calibre.”