The report has not been fully implemented, and debate continues about the future of the House of Lords (see Lords Reform).
The intention of the report was to create a second chamber that would be an effective check on government power, while simultaneously making it more accountable to the electorate. At present, the Prime Minister recommends the appointment of life peers, Law Lords and Bishops; this means, effectively, that the Prime Minister and the governing party have great influence over the House of Lords, and it can be used as a source of political patronage. (This has recently become a more significant issue, owing to the Cash for Peerages scandal.) An independent Honours and Appointments Commission would solve this problem, and would create a peerage that was less dependent on partisan influence.
The House is often also criticised because no part of it is directly accountable to the electorate; no peers stand for election, and there is no normal procedure for removing peers. Adding some elected members, and limiting members' terms in office, might ameliorate this problem.
The report has been criticised for not addressing some crucial issues. For instance, at present, the House of Lords only has a power of suspensive veto; they may only delay legislation for one year, after which the House of Commons may pass it without the Lords' assent. The report did not address whether this situation would change, or remain the same.
Another important criticism of the report's recommendations is that adding some elected members to the House might create two 'classes' of members; the elected members might be seen as having greater democratic legitimacy and authority than the appointed members. This could also threaten the traditional primacy of the House of Commons within the Westminster parliamentary system. One commentator, the Liberal Democrat peer Lord McNally, wrote in January 2000: "Those who fear that a House of Lords with increased authority will challenge the status of the Commons and cause constitutional conflict - or "gridlock" as the Americans call it when the Senate and the Congress disagree - will worry that the Wakeham proposals set us on just that course. On the other hand, those who believe that the second chamber must have the full democratic mandate which only the ballot box can bestow will be disappointed.
Others were dissatisfied with the Wakeham Commission's refusal to remove appointed members; according to BBC political correspondent Nick Assinder, "opponents accused the commission of failing to come up with a single, simple recommendation and allowing the creation of chamber of "Tony's cronies"".
Monitor: Who Stays? Who Goes? ; Reaction to the Report by the Royal Commission Chaired by Lord Wakeham on Reform of the Upper House
Jan 22, 2000; The Express INTRODUCING AN elected element to the Upper House would at least start to open up the chamber to a wider diversity of...