How would decisions in the House of Citizens be made?

The deliberative process would be very important. The chamber that the House of Citizens met in would be very different to the House of Lords - a complete redesign would be needed.

The House of Citizens would typically sit at tables of around 10 people, together with a facilitator and a note-taker. They would discuss proposals, listen and question experts, and a qualified, independent table facilitator would ensure that everyone's voice was heard and no one dominated the discussion.

All the tables would be networked together. Technology can make it reasonably easy to what issues and options every table is discussing and top themes can be identified. These themes (or issues or options) would be presented to the entire parliament and all the participants would have voting keypads to confirm (or not) that the options had been identified and ordered correctly.

The parliament could call experts or witnesses to present information to the entire assembly, or present detailed reports. Questions could, of course, be asked.

The tables discuss and refine proposed amendments (or decide to accept, reject or delay the bill), finally voting for their preferred outcome.

Typically we would expect the House of Citizens to be given a few weeks to go through a detailed deliberative process with these stages:

  1.  Learning phase: The assembly studies the history, options and complexities of the bill, with access to a wide array of experts.
  2. Consultation phase: The assembly consults widely, around the country and in their own constituency.
  3. Deliberation phase: The assembly deliberate together, and requests more information if needed.
  4. Decision phase: They come to a decision, recommending either acceptance, amendments, delay, or rejection of the bill.

Then the bill either passes or goes back to the House of Commons if required. Delay is limited to one calendar year.

This is obviously a brief and very simplified description to give the general idea. The exact process would be far more detailed and precise, and facilitated by participation and deliberation experts.

Who else wants a House of Citizens?

Mary Beard and Arron Banks want to "draw the House of Lords by lot because it works perfectly well for juries."

Stephen Fry thinks selecting MPs by lottery would be "a brilliant idea."

Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd got "incredibly enthused" by sortition and deliberative democracy and think it is a way to bring political change forward.

Anthony Barnett (founder of openDemocracy) wants a Citizens' House as well.

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