of the Parliament of the United Kingdom
. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster
The House of Lords is the second chamber of Parliament. It is independent from, and complements the work of, the House of Commons – they share responsibility for making laws and checking government action. Bills can be introduced into either the House of Lords or the House of Commons and members of the Lords may also take on roles as Government Ministers.
Unlike the House of Commons, members of the House of Lords are appointed.
1605 Gunpowder Plot: A conspiracy led by Robert Catesby to blow up the English Houses of Parliament is thwarted when Sir Thomas Knyvet, a justice of the peace, finds Guy Fawkes in a cellar below the House of Lords.
1913 The United Kingdom's House of Lords rejects the Irish Home Rule Bill.
1992 Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher joins the House of Lords as Baroness Thatcher.
1999 Britain's House of Lords votes to end the right of hereditary peers to vote in Britain's upper chamber of Parliament.
1999 The House of Lords Act is given Royal Assent, restricting membership of the British House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage.
2007 British House of Commons votes to make the upper chamber, the House of Lords, 100% elected.
of the Parliament of the United Kingdom
. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster
The House of Lords is the second chamber of Parliament. It is independent from, and complements the work of, the House of Commons – they share responsibility for making laws and checking government action. Bills can be introduced into either the House of Lords or the House of Commons and members of the Lords may also take on roles as Government Ministers.
Unlike the House of Commons, members of the House of Lords are appointed. Membership of the House of Lords is made up of Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal. There are currently 26 Lords Spiritual
, who sit in the Lords by virtue of their ecclesiastical role in the established Church of England
. The Lords Temporal make up the rest of the membership; of these, the majority are life peer
s who are appointed by the Monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister
, or on the advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission.
Membership was once a right of birth to hereditary peers but, following a series of reforms, only 90 members sitting by virtue of a hereditary peerage remain. The number of members is not fixed; the House of Lords has 789 members (plus 38 who are on leave of absence
or otherwise disqualified from sitting), as against the fixed 650-seat membership of the House of Commons.
The Speech from the throne
, often known as the Queen's Speech, is delivered from the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament. The House also has a minor Church of England
role in that through the Lords Spiritual
Church Measures must be tabled within the House. The formal title of the House of Lords is The Right Honourable
the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.
HistoryToday's Parliament of the United Kingdom largely descends, in practice, from the Parliament of England
, though the 1706 Treaty of Union
and the Acts of Union that ratified the Treaty created a new Parliament of Great Britain
to replace the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland
. This new parliament was, in effect, the continuation of the Parliament of England with the addition of 45 MPs
and 16 Peers to represent Scotland.
The Parliament of England developed from the Magnum Concilium
, the "Great Council" that advised the King during medieval times. This royal council came to be composed of ecclesiastics, noblemen, and representatives of the counties
(afterwards, representatives of the boroughs
as well). The first Parliament is often considered to be the "Model Parliament
" (held in 1295), which included archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, and representatives of the shires and boroughs.
The power of Parliament grew slowly, fluctuating as the strength of the monarchy grew or declined. For example, during much of the reign of Edward II
(1307–1327), the nobility
was supreme, the Crown
weak, and the shire and borough representatives entirely powerless. In 1569, the authority of Parliament was for the first time recognised not simply by custom or royal charter, but by an authoritative statute, passed by Parliament itself.
Further developments occurred during the reign of Edward II's successor, Edward III
. Most importantly, it was during this King's reign that Parliament clearly separated into two distinct chambers: the House of Commons (consisting of the shire and borough representatives) and the House of Lords (consisting of the senior clergy and the nobility). The authority of Parliament continued to grow, and, during the early fifteenth century, both Houses exercised powers to an extent not seen before. The Lords were far more powerful than the Commons because of the great influence of the aristocrats and prelates of the realm.
The power of the nobility suffered a decline during the civil wars of the late fifteenth century, known as the Wars of the Roses
. Much of the nobility was killed on the battlefield or executed for participation in the war, and many aristocratic estates were lost to the Crown. Moreover, feudalism
was dying, and the feudal armies controlled by the barons became obsolete. Henry VII (1485–1509) clearly established the supremacy of the monarch, symbolised by the 'Crown Imperial'. The domination of the Sovereign continued to grow during the reigns of the Tudor monarchs
in the 16th century. The Crown was at the height of its power during the reign of Henry VIII
The House of Lords remained more powerful than the House of Commons, but the Lower House continued to grow in influence, reaching a zenith in relation to the House of Lords during the middle 17th century. Conflicts between the King and the Parliament (for the most part, the House of Commons) ultimately led to the English Civil War
during the 1640s. In 1649, after the defeat and execution of King Charles I
, the Commonwealth of England
was declared, but the nation was effectively under the overall control of Oliver Cromwell
, Lord Protector of England.
The House of Lords was reduced to a largely powerless body, with Cromwell and his supporters in the Commons dominating the Government. On 19 March 1649, the House of Lords was abolished by an Act of Parliament, which declared that "The Commons of England [find] by too long experience that the House of Lords is useless and dangerous to the people of England." The House of Lords did not assemble again until the Convention Parliament met in 1660 and the monarchy was restored. It returned to its former position as the more powerful chamber of Parliament—a position it would occupy until the 19th century.
19th centuryThe 19th century was marked by several changes to the House of Lords. The House, once a body of only about 50 members, had been greatly enlarged by the liberality of George III
and his successors in creating peerages. The individual influence of a Lord of Parliament was thus diminished.
Moreover, the power of the House as a whole experienced a decrease, whilst that of the House of Commons grew. Particularly notable in the development of the Lower House's superiority was the Reform Bill of 1832
. The electoral system of the House of Commons was not, at the time, democratic: property qualifications greatly restricted the size of the electorate, and the boundaries of many constituencies had not been changed for centuries.
Entire cities such as Manchester
were not represented by a single individual in the House of Commons, but the 11 voters of Old Sarum
retained their ancient right to elect two Members of Parliament. A small borough was susceptible to bribery, and was often under the control of a patron, whose nominee was guaranteed to win an election. Some aristocrats were patrons of numerous "pocket boroughs
", and therefore controlled a considerable part of the membership of the House of Commons.
When, in 1831, the House of Commons passed a Reform Bill to correct some of these anomalies, the House of Lords rejected the proposal. The popular cause of reform, however, was not abandoned by the ministry, despite a second rejection of the bill in the Lords in 1832. The Prime Minister, Earl Grey
, then advised the King to overwhelm the opposition to the bill in the House of Lords by creating about 80 new pro-Reform peers. William IV
originally balked at the proposal, which effectively threatened the opposition of the House of Lords, but at length relented.
Before the new peers were created, however, the Lords who opposed the bill admitted defeat, and abstained from the vote, allowing the passage of the bill. The crisis damaged the political influence of the House of Lords, but did not altogether end it. Over the course of the century, however, the power of the Upper House experienced further erosion, and the Commons gradually became the stronger House of Parliament.
20th centuryThe status of the House of Lords returned to the forefront of debate after the election of a Liberal Government in 1906. In 1909, the Chancellor of the Exchequer
, David Lloyd George
, introduced into the House of Commons
the "People's Budget
", which proposed a land tax targeting wealthy landowners. The popular measure, however, was defeated in the heavily Conservative House of Lords.
Having made the powers of the House of Lords a primary campaign issue, the Liberals were narrowly re-elected in January 1910. Asquith then proposed that the powers of the House of Lords be severely curtailed. After a general election in December 1910, the Asquith Government secured the passage of a bill to curtail the powers of the House of Lords.
The Parliament Act 1911
effectively abolished the power of the House of Lords to reject legislation, or to amend in a way unacceptable to the House of Commons: most bills could be delayed for no more than three parliamentary sessions or two calendar years. It was not meant to be a permanent solution; more comprehensive reforms were planned. Neither party, however, pursued the matter with much enthusiasm, and the House of Lords remained primarily hereditary. In 1949, the Parliament Act reduced the delaying power of the House of Lords further to two sessions or one year.
In 1958, the predominantly hereditary nature of the House of Lords was changed by the Life Peerages Act 1958
, which authorised the creation of life baronies, with no numerical limits. The number of Life Peers then gradually increased, though not at a constant rate.
The Labour Party had for most of the twentieth century a commitment, based on the party's historic opposition to class privilege, to abolish the House of Lords, or at least expel the hereditary element. In 1968, the Labour Government of Harold Wilson
attempted to reform the House of Lords by introducing a system under which hereditary peers would be allowed to remain in the House and take part in debate, but would be unable to vote. This plan, however, was defeated in the House of Commons by a coalition of traditionalist Conservatives (such as Enoch Powell
), and Labour members who continued to advocate the outright abolition of the Upper House (such as Michael Foot
When Michael Foot attained the leadership of the Labour Party, abolition of the House of Lords became a part of the party's agenda; under Neil Kinnock
, however, a reformed Upper House was proposed instead. In the meantime, the creation of hereditary peerages (except for members of the Royal Family) has been arrested, with the exception of three creations during the administration of the Conservative Margaret Thatcher
in the 1980s.
Whilst some hereditary peers were at best apathetic the Labour Party's clear commitments were not lost on Baron Sudeley
who for decades had been considered an expert on the House of Lords. In December 1979 the Conservative Monday Club
published his extensive paper entitled Lords Reform – Why tamper with the House of Lords? and in July 1980 The Monarchist
(no. 57, p. 27 – 34) carried another article by Lord Sudeley entitled Why Reform or Abolish the House of Lords?. In 1990 he authored a further booklet for The Monday Club entitled The Preservation of the House of Lords.
Lords Reform (1997 -)The Labour Party included in its 1997 General Election Manifesto
a commitment to remove the hereditary peerage from the House of Lords. Their subsequent election victory in 1997 under Tony Blair
finally heralded the demise of the traditional House of Lords. The Labour Government introduced legislation to expel all hereditary peers from the Upper House as a first step in Lords reform. As a part of a compromise, however, it agreed to permit 92 hereditary peers to remain until the reforms were complete. Thus all but 92 hereditary peers were expelled under the House of Lords Act 1999
(see below for its provisions), making the House of Lords predominantly an appointed house.
Since 1999 however, no further reform has taken place. The Wakeham Commission proposed introducing a 20% elected element to the Lords, but this plan was widely criticised. A Joint Committee
was established in 2001 to resolve the issue, but it reached no conclusion and instead gave Parliament seven options to choose from (fully appointed, 20% elected, 40% elected, 50% elected, 60% elected, 80%, and fully elected). In a confusing series of votes in February 2003, all of these options were defeated although the 80% elected option fell by just three votes in the Commons. Socialist MPs favouring outright abolition voted against all the options.
In 2005 a cross-party group of senior MPs (Kenneth Clarke
, Paul Tyler, Tony Wright, Sir George Young
and the late Robin Cook
) published a report proposing that 70% of members of the House of Lords
should be elected – each member for a single long term – by the single transferable vote
system. Most of the remainder were to be appointed by a Commission to ensure a mix of "skills, knowledge and experience". This proposal was also not implemented. A cross-party campaign initiative called "Elect the Lords
" was set up to make the case for a predominantly elected Second Chamber in the run up to the 2005 general election
At the 2005 election, the Labour Party proposed further reform of the Lords, but without specific details. The Conservative Party, which had, prior to 1997, opposed any tampering with the House of Lords, favoured an 80% elected Second Chamber, while the Liberal Democrats called for a fully elected Senate
. During 2006, a cross-party committee discussed Lords reform, with the aim of reaching a consensus: its findings were published in early 2007.
On 7 March 2007, members of the House of Commons voted ten times on a variety of alternative compositions for the upper chamber. Outright abolition, a wholly appointed house, a 20% elected house, a 40% elected house, a 50% elected house and a 60% elected house were all defeated in turn. Finally the vote for an 80% elected chamber was won by 305 votes to 267, and the vote for a wholly elected chamber was won by an even greater margin: 337 to 224. Significantly this last vote represented an overall majority of MPs, giving it huge political authority.
Furthermore, examination of the names of MPs voting at each division shows that, of the 305 who voted for the 80% elected option, 211 went on to vote for the 100% elected option. Given that this vote took place after the vote on 80% – whose result was already known when the vote on 100% took place – this shows a clear preference for a fully elected upper house among those who voted for the only other option that passed. But this was nevertheless only an indicative vote and many political and legislative hurdles remained to be overcome for supporters of an elected second chamber. The House of Lords, soon after, rejected this proposal and voted for an entirely appointed House of Lords.
In July 2008 Jack Straw
, the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor
, introduced a white paper
to the House of Commons proposing to replace the House of Lords with an 80–100% elected chamber, with one third being elected at each general election, for a term of approximately 12–15 years. The white paper
states that as the peerage would be totally separated from membership of the upper house, the name "House of Lords" would no longer be appropriate: It goes on to explain that there is cross-party consensus for the new chamber to be titled the "Senate of the United Kingdom", however in order to ensure the debate remains on the role of the upper house rather than its title, the white paper is neutral on the title of the new house.
In Meg Russell’s article; ‘Is the House of Lords already reformed?’ she states three essential features of a legitimate House of Lords. The first is that it must have adequate powers over legislation to make the government think twice before making a decision. The House of Lords currently has enough power to make it relevant. During Tony Blair’s first year he was defeated thirty-eight times in the Lords.
There has been little in the way of suggestions for reforming the power of the House of Lords over recent years and it is unlikely that the coalition will want to introduce reform on this issue; however, as will be explained, they may inadvertently have to. The next feature relates to the composition of the Lords. Meg Russell suggests that the composition must be distinct from the Commons otherwise it would render the Lords useless. The third feature is the perceived legitimacy of the Lords. She writes; ‘In general legitimacy comes with election.’
What will concern ministers in the coalition government is how these features are interlinked. If the Lords have a distinct and elected composition, this would probably come about through fixed term proportional representation. If this happens then the perceived legitimacy of the Lords could arguably outweigh the legitimacy of the commons. This would especially be the case if the House of Lords had been elected more recently than the House of Commons as it could be said to reflect the will of the people better than the Commons.
In this scenario there may well come a time when the Lords twice reject a Bill from the Commons and it is forced through. This would in turn trigger questions about the amount of power the Lords should have and there would be pressure for it to increase. This hypothetical process is known as the ‘circumnavigation of power theory’. It infers that it would never be in any government’s interest to legitimise the Lords as they would be forfeiting their own power.
Relationship with the GovernmentThe House of Lords does not control the term of the Prime Minister or of the Government. Only the Lower House may force the Prime Minister to resign or call elections by passing a motion of no-confidence or by withdrawing supply
. Thus, the House of Lords' oversight of the government is limited.
Most Cabinet ministers are from the House of Commons, rather than the House of Lords. In particular, all Prime Ministers since 1902 have been members of the Lower House. (Alec Douglas-Home
, who became Prime Minister in 1963 whilst still an Earl, disclaimed his peerage and was elected to the Commons soon after his term began.) In recent history, it has been very rare for major cabinet positions (except Lord Chancellor
and Leader of the House of Lords
) to have been filled by peers.
Exceptions include Lord Carrington
, who was the Foreign Secretary
between 1979 and 1982, Lord Young of Graffham (Minister without Portfolio
, then Secretary of State for Employment
and then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
from 1984 to 1989), and Lord Mandelson
, who served as First Secretary of State
, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and President of the Board of Trade. George Robertson
was briefly a peer whilst serving as Secretary of State for Defence
before resigning to take up the post of Secretary General of NATO
. From 1999 to 2010 the Attorney General for England and Wales
was a Member of the House of Lords; the most recent was Baroness Scotland of Asthal.
The House of Lords does remain a source for junior ministers and members of government. Like the House of Commons, the Lords also has a Government Chief Whip as well as several Junior Whips. Where a government department is not represented by a minister in the Lords or one is not available, government whips will act as spokesmen for them.
The House of Lords debates legislation, and has power to amend or reject bills. However, the power of the Lords to reject a bill passed by the House of Commons is severely restricted by the Parliament Acts. Under those Acts, certain types of bills may be presented for the Royal Assent
without the consent of the House of Lords (i.e. the Commons can override the Lords' veto). The House of Lords cannot delay a money bill (a bill that, in the view of the Speaker of the House of Commons, solely concerns national taxation or public funds) for more than one month.
Other public bills cannot be delayed by the House of Lords for more than two parliamentary sessions, or one calendar year. These provisions, however, only apply to public bills that originate in the House of Commons, and cannot have the effect of extending a parliamentary term beyond five years. A further restriction is a constitutional convention
known as the Salisbury Convention
, which means that the House of Lords does not oppose legislation promised in the Government's election manifesto
By a custom that prevailed even before the Parliament Acts, the House of Lords is further restrained insofar as financial bills are concerned. The House of Lords may neither originate a bill concerning taxation or Supply (supply of treasury or exchequer funds), nor amend a bill so as to insert a taxation or Supply-related provision. (The House of Commons, however, often waives its privileges and allows the Upper House to make amendments with financial implications.) Moreover, the Upper House may not amend any Supply Bill. The House of Lords formerly maintained the absolute power to reject a bill relating to revenue or Supply, but this power was curtailed by the Parliament Acts, as aforementioned.
Former judicial roleHistorically, the House of Lords held several judicial functions. Most notably, until 2009 the House of Lords served as the court of last resort for most instances of UK law. Since 1 October 2009 this role is now held by the newly created Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
The Lords' judicial functions originated from the ancient role of the Curia Regis
as a body that addressed the petitions of the King's subjects. The functions were exercised not by the whole House, but by a committee of "Law Lords". The bulk of the House's judicial business was conducted by the twelve Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, who were specifically appointed for this purpose under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876
The judicial functions could also be exercised by Lords of Appeal (other members of the House who happened to have held high judicial office). No Lord of Appeal in Ordinary or Lord of Appeal could sit judicially beyond the age of seventy-five. The judicial business of the Lords was supervised by the Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and his or her deputy, the Second Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.
The jurisdiction of the House of Lords extended, in civil and in criminal cases, to appeals from the courts of England and Wales, and of Northern Ireland. From Scotland, appeals were possible only in civil cases; Scotland's High Court of Justiciary
is the highest court in criminal matters. The House of Lords was not the United Kingdom's only court of last resort; in some cases, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
performs such a function. The jurisdiction of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom, however, is relatively restricted; it encompasses appeals from ecclesiastical courts, disputes under the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975
, and a few other minor matters. Issues related to devolution
were transferred from the Privy Council to the Supreme Court in 2009.
The twelve Law Lords did not all hear every case; rather, after World War II cases were heard by panels known as Appellate Committees, each of which normally consisted of five members (selected by the Senior Lord). An Appellate Committee hearing an important case could consist of more than five members. Though Appellate Committees met in separate committee rooms, judgement was given in the Lords Chamber itself. No further appeal lay from the House of Lords, although the House of Lords could refer a "preliminary question" to the European Court of Justice
in cases involving an element of European Union law
, and a case could be brought at the European Court of Human Rights
if the House of Lords did not provide a satisfactory remedy in cases where the European Convention on Human Rights
A distinct judicial function—one in which the whole House used to participate—is that of trying impeachment
s. Impeachments were brought by the House of Commons, and tried in the House of Lords; a conviction required only a majority of the Lords voting. Impeachments, however, are to all intents and purposes obsolete; the last impeachment was that of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
Similarly, the House of Lords was once the court that tried peers charged with high treason
. The House would be presided over not by the Lord Chancellor
, but by the Lord High Steward
, an official especially appointed for the occasion of the trial. If Parliament was not in session, then peers could be tried in a separate court, known as the Lord High Steward's Court. Only peers, their wives, and their widows (unless remarried) were entitled to trials in the House of Lords or the Lord High Steward's Court; the Lords Spiritual were tried in Ecclesiastical Courts. In 1948, the right of peers to be tried in such special courts was abolished; now, they are tried in the regular courts. The last such trial in the House was of Edward Southwell Russell, 26th Baron de Clifford
The Constitutional Reform Act 2005
resulted in the creation of a separate Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
, to which the judicial function of the House of Lords, and some of the judicial functions of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, were transferred. In addition, the office of Lord Chancellor was reformed by the act, removing his ability to act as both a government minister and a judge. This was motivated in part by concerns about the historical admixture of legislative, judicial, and executive power. The new Supreme Court is located at Middlesex Guildhall
Lords SpiritualMembers of the House of Lords who sit by virtue of their ecclesiastical offices are known as Lords Spiritual. Formerly, the Lords Spiritual were the majority in the House of Lords, including the Church of England's archbishop
s, diocesan bishops
s, and those prior
s who were entitled to wear a mitre
. After 1539, however, only the archbishops and bishops continued to attend, for the Dissolution of the Monasteries
suppressed the positions of abbot and prior. In 1642, during the English Civil War
, the Lords Spiritual were excluded altogether, but they returned under the Clergy Act 1661
The number of Lords Spiritual was further restricted by the Bishopric of Manchester Act 1847, and by later acts. The Lords Spiritual can now number no more than 26; these are the Archbishop of Canterbury
, the Archbishop of York
, the Bishop of London
, the Bishop of Durham, the Bishop of Winchester
and the 21 longest-serving bishops from other diocese
s in the Church of England (excluding the dioceses of Sodor and Man
and Gibraltar in Europe
, as these lie entirely outside the United Kingdom).
The current Lords Spiritual represent only the Church of England. Bishops of the Church of Scotland
traditionally sat in the Parliament of Scotland
but were excluded in 1638 following the Scottish Reformation
. There are no longer bishops in the Church of Scotland
in the traditional sense of the word, and that Church has never sent members to sit in the Westminster House of Lords. The Church of Ireland
did obtain representation in the House of Lords after the union of Ireland and Great Britain in 1801.
Of the Church of Ireland's ecclesiastics, four (one archbishop and three bishops) were to sit at any one time, with the members rotating at the end of every parliamentary session (which normally lasted approximately one year). The Church of Ireland, however, was disestablished in 1871, and thereafter ceased to be represented by Lords Spiritual. The Church in Wales
originally had representation within the Lords, but ceased to be a part of the Church of England in 1920 and was simultaneously disestablished in Wales. Accordingly, bishops of the Church in Wales were no longer eligible to be appointed to the House as bishops of the Church of England.
Other ecclesiastics have sat in the House of Lords as Lords Temporal in recent times: Chief Rabbi
was appointed to the House of Lords (with the consent of the Queen, who acted on the advice of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
), and his successor Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
does as well. In recognition of his work at reconciliation and in the Peace Process
, the Archbishop of Armagh
(the senior Anglican bishop in Northern Ireland
), Lord Eames was appointed to the Lords by John Major
. Other clergymen appointed include the Reverend Donald Soper
, the Reverend Timothy Beaumont, and some Scottish clerics.
There have been no Roman Catholic clergymen appointed, though it was rumoured that Cardinal Basil Hume was offered a peerage, but refused, and accepted instead the Order of Merit, a personal appointment of the Queen, shortly before his death. Roman Catholics who have received Holy Orders are forbidden by Canon Law
from holding offices connected with the government of any state other than the Holy See
, so it is unlikely that any Catholic cleric will ever sit in the House of Lords. Former Archbishops of Canterbury, having reverted to the status of bishop but who are no longer diocesans, are invariably given life peerages and sit as Lords Temporal.
By custom at least one of the Bishops reads prayers in each legislative day (a role taken by the chaplain in the Commons). They often speak in debates; in 2004 Rowan Williams
, the Archbishop of Canterbury
, opened a debate into sentencing legislation. Measures (proposed laws
of the Church of England) must be put before the Lords, and the Lords Spiritual have a role in ensuring that this takes place.
Lords TemporalSince the Dissolution of the Monasteries
, the Lords Temporal have been the most numerous group in the House of Lords. Unlike the Lords Spiritual, they may be publicly partisan, aligning themselves with one or another of the political parties that dominate the House of Commons. Publicly non-partisan Lords are called crossbenchers. Originally, the Lords Temporal included several hundred hereditary peers (that is, those whose peerages may be inherited), who ranked variously as duke
s, and baron
s (as well as Scottish Lords of Parliament). Such hereditary dignities can be created by the Crown, in modern times on the advice of the Prime Minister of the day.
In 1999, the Labour government brought forward the House of Lords Act removing the right of several hundred hereditary peers to sit in the House. The Act provided a temporary measure that only 92 individuals may continue to sit in the Upper House by virtue of hereditary peerages.
Of these, two remain in the House of Lords because they hold royal offices connected with Parliament: the Earl Marshal and the Lord Great Chamberlain
. Of the remaining 90 members of the House of Lords sitting by virtue of a hereditary peerage in the House of Lords, 14 are elected by the whole House and 74 are chosen by fellow hereditary peers in the House of Lords, grouped by party.
The number of peers to be chosen by a party reflects the proportion of hereditary peers that belonged to that party (see current composition below) in 1999. When an elected hereditary peer dies, a by-election is held, with a variant of the Alternative Vote system being used. If the recently deceased hereditary peer was elected by the whole House, then so is his or her replacement; a hereditary peer elected by a specific party is replaced by a vote of elected hereditary peers belonging to that party (whether elected as part of that party group or by the whole house).
The Lords Temporal also included the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, a group of individuals appointed to the House of Lords so that they could exercise its judicial functions. Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, more commonly known as Law Lords, were first appointed under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876
. They were selected by the Prime Minister, but were formally appointed by the Sovereign. A Lord of Appeal in Ordinary had to retire at the age of 70, or, if his or her term was extended by the government, at the age of 75; after reaching such an age, the Law Lord could not hear any further legal cases.
The number of Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (excluding those who were no longer able to hear cases because of age restrictions) was limited to twelve, but could be changed by statutory instrument
. Lords of Appeal in Ordinary traditionally did not participate in political debates, so as to maintain judicial independence. Lords of Appeal in Ordinary held seats in the House of Lords for life, remaining members even after reaching the judicial retirement age of 70 or 75. Former Lord Chancellors and holders of other high judicial office could also sit as Law Lords under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act, although in practice this right was infrequently exercised.
Under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005
, the existing Lords of Appeal in Ordinary became judges of the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
in 2009 and are barred from sitting or voting in the House of Lords until they retire as judges. One of the main justifications for the new Supreme Court was to establish a separation of powers between the judiciary and the legislature. It is therefore unlikely that future appointees to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom will be made Lords of Appeal in Ordinary.
The largest group of Lords Temporal, and indeed of the whole House, are life peer
s. Life peerages rank only as barons or baronesses, and are created under the Life Peerages Act 1958
. Like all other peers, life peers are created by the Sovereign, who acts on the advice of the Prime Minister or the House of Lords Appointments Commission. By convention, however, the Prime Minister allows leaders of other parties to select some life peers so as to maintain a political balance in the House of Lords. Moreover, some non-party life peers (the number being determined by the Prime Minister) are nominated by an independent House of Lords Appointments Commission.
If a hereditary peerage holder is given a life peerage, he or she becomes a member of the House of Lords without a need for a by-election. In 2000, the government announced it would set up an Independent Appointments Commission, under Lord Stevenson of Coddenham, to select fifteen so-called "People's Peers" for life peerages. However, when the choices were announced in April 2001, from a list of 3,000 applicants, the choices were treated with criticism in the media, as all were distinguished in their field, and none were "ordinary people" as some had originally hoped.
In many historical instances, some peers were not permitted to sit in the Upper House. When Scotland united with England to form Great Britain in 1707, it was provided that the Scottish hereditary peers would only be able to elect 16 representative peers to sit in the House of Lords; the term of a representative was to extend until the next general election. A similar provision was enacted in respect of Ireland when that kingdom merged with Great Britain in 1801; the Irish peers were allowed to elect 28 representatives, who were to retain office for life. Elections for Irish representatives ended in 1922, when most of Ireland became an independent state; elections for Scottish representatives ended with the passage of the Peerage Act 1963
, under which all Scottish peers obtained seats in the Upper House.
QualificationsSeveral different qualifications apply for membership of the House of Lords. No person may sit in the House of Lords if under the age of 21. Furthermore, only citizens of the United Kingdom, Commonwealth
citizens, and citizens of Ireland may sit in the House of Lords. The nationality restrictions were previously more stringent: under the Act of Settlement 1701
, and prior to the British Nationality Act 1948
, only natural-born subjects were qualified.
Additionally, some bankruptcy-related restrictions apply to members of the Upper House. A person may not sit in the House of Lords if he or she is the subject of a Bankruptcy Restrictions Order (applicable in England and Wales only), or if he or she is adjudged bankrupt (in Northern Ireland), or if his or her estate is sequestered (in Scotland). A final restriction bars an individual convicted of high treason
from sitting in the House of Lords until completing his or her full term of imprisonment. An exception applies, however, if the individual convicted of high treason receives a full pardon. Note that an individual serving a prison sentence for an offence other than high treason is not automatically disqualified.
Women were excluded from the House of Lords until the Life Peerages Act, passed in 1958 to address the declining number of active members, made possible the creation of peerages for life. Women were immediately eligible and four were among the first life peers appointed. However, hereditary peeresses continued to be excluded until the passage of the Peerage Act 1963. Since the passage of the House of Lords Act 1999, hereditary peeresses remain eligible for election to the Upper House; there are two among the 90 hereditary peers who continue to sit.
OfficersTraditionally the House of Lords did not elect its own speaker, unlike the House of Commons; rather, the ex officio presiding officer was the Lord Chancellor
. With the passage of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005
, the post of Lord Speaker
was created, a position to which a peer is elected by the House and subsequently appointed by the Crown
. The first Lord Speaker, elected on 4 May 2006, is Baroness Hayman
, a former Labour peer. As the Speaker is expected to be an impartial presiding officer, Baroness Hayman has resigned from the Labour Party.
This reform of the post of Lord Chancellor was made due to the perceived constitutional anomalies inherent in the role. The Lord Chancellor was not only the Speaker of the House of Lords, but also a member of the Cabinet; his or her department, formerly the Lord Chancellor's Department, is now called the Ministry of Justice. The Lord Chancellor is no longer the head of the judiciary of England and Wales. Hitherto, the Lord Chancellor was part of all three branches of government: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial.
The overlap of the legislative and executive roles is a characteristic of the Westminster system
, as the entire cabinet consists of members of the House of Commons or the House of Lords; however, in June 2003, the Blair Government announced its intention to abolish the post of Lord Chancellor because of the office's mixed executive and judicial responsibilities. The abolition of the office was rejected by the House of Lords, and the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 was thus amended to preserve the office of Lord Chancellor. The Act no longer guarantees that the office holder of Lord Chancellor is the presiding officer of the House of Lords, and therefore allows the House of Lords to elect a speaker of their own.
, the Principal Deputy Chairman of Committees, and several Chairmen are all deputies to the Lord Speaker, and are all appointed by the House of Lords itself at the beginning of each session. By custom, the Crown appoints each Chairman, Principal Deputy Chairman and Deputy Chairman to the additional office of Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords. There was previously no legal requirement that the Lord Chancellor or a Deputy Speaker be a member of the House of Lords (though the same has long been customary).
Whilst presiding over the House of Lords, the Lord Chancellor traditionally wore ceremonial black and gold robes. Robes of black and gold are now worn by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice in the House of Commons, on ceremonial occasions. This is no longer a requirement for the Lord Speaker except for State occasions outside of the chamber. The Speaker or Deputy Speaker sits on the Woolsack
, a large red seat stuffed with wool, at the front of the Lords Chamber.
When the House of Lords resolves itself into committee (see below), the Chairman of Committees or a Deputy Chairman of Committees presides, not from the Woolsack, but from a chair at the Table of the House. The presiding officer has little power compared to the Speaker of the House of Commons. He or she only acts as the mouthpiece of the House, performing duties such as announcing the results of votes. This is because, unlike in the House of Commons where all statements are directed to "Mr/Madam Speaker", in the House of Lords they are directed to "My Lords", i.e. the entire body of the House.
The Lord Speaker or Deputy Speaker cannot determine which members may speak, or discipline members for violating the rules of the House; these measures may be taken only by the House itself. Unlike the politically neutral Speaker of the House of Commons, the Lord Chancellor and Deputy Speakers originally remained members of their respective parties, and were permitted to participate in debate; however, this is no longer true of the new role of Lord Speaker.
Another officer of the body is the Leader of the House of Lords
, a peer selected by the Prime Minister. The Leader of the House is responsible for steering Government bills through the House of Lords, and is a member of the Cabinet. The Leader also advises the House on proper procedure when necessary, but such advice is merely informal, rather than official and binding. A Deputy Leader is also appointed by the Prime Minister, and takes the place of an absent or unavailable Leader.
The Clerk of the Parliaments
is the chief clerk and officer of the House of Lords (but is not a member of the House itself). The Clerk, who is appointed by the Crown, advises the presiding officer on the rules of the House, signs orders and official communications, endorses bills, and is the keeper of the official records of both Houses of Parliament. Moreover, the Clerk of the Parliaments is responsible for arranging by-elections of hereditary peers when necessary. The deputies of the Clerk of the Parliaments (the Clerk Assistant and the Reading Clerk) are appointed by the Lord Speaker, subject to the House's approval.
The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod
is also an officer of the House; he takes his title from the symbol of his office, a black rod. Black Rod (as the Gentleman Usher is normally known) is responsible for ceremonial arrangements, is in charge of the House's doorkeepers, and may (upon the order of the House) take action to end disorder or disturbance in the Chamber. Black Rod also holds the office of Serjeant-at-Arms
of the House of Lords, and in this capacity attends upon the Lord Speaker. The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod's duties may be delegated to the Yeoman Usher of the Black Rod or to the Assistant Serjeant-at-Arms.
- See also the stages of a bill section in Acts of Parliament in the United KingdomActs of Parliament in the United KingdomAn Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom is a type of legislation called primary legislation. These Acts are passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom at Westminster, or by the Scottish Parliament at Edinburgh....
The House of Lords and the House of Commons assemble in the Palace of Westminster
. The Lords Chamber is lavishly decorated, in contrast with the more modestly furnished Commons Chamber. Benches in the Lords Chamber are coloured red. The Woolsack is at the front of the Chamber; the Government sit on benches on the right of the Woolsack, while members of the Opposition sit on the left. Crossbenchers, sit on the benches immediately opposite the Woolsack.
The Lords Chamber is the site of many formal ceremonies, the most famous of which is the State Opening of Parliament
, held at the beginning of each new parliamentary session. During the State Opening, the Sovereign
, seated on the Throne in the Lords Chamber and in the presence of both Houses of Parliament, delivers a speech outlining the Government's agenda for the upcoming parliamentary session.
In the House of Lords, members need not seek the recognition of the presiding officer before speaking, as is done in the House of Commons. If two or more Lords simultaneously rise to speak, the House decides which one is to be heard by acclamation, or, if necessary, by voting on a motion. Often, however, the Leader of the House will suggest an order, which is thereafter generally followed. Speeches in the House of Lords are addressed to the House as a whole ("My Lords") rather than to the presiding officer alone (as is the custom in the Lower House). Members may not refer to each other in the second person (as "you"), but rather use third person forms such as "the noble Duke", "the noble Earl", "the noble Lord", "my noble friend", "The most Reverend Primate" etc.
Each member may make no more than one speech on a motion, except that the mover of the motion may make one speech at the beginning of the debate and another at the end. Speeches are not subject to any time limits in the House; however, the House may put an end to a speech by approving a motion "that the noble Lord be no longer heard". It is also possible for the House to end the debate entirely, by approving a motion "that the Question be now put". This procedure is known as Closure
, and is extremely rare.
Once all speeches on a motion have concluded, or Closure invoked, the motion may be put to a vote. The House first votes by voice vote
; the Lord Speaker or Deputy Speaker puts the question, and the Lords respond either "Content" (in favour of the motion) or "Not Content" (against the motion). The presiding officer then announces the result of the voice vote, but if his assessment is challenged by any Lord, a recorded vote known as a division
Members of the House enter one of two lobbies (the "Content" lobby or the "Not-Content" lobby) on either side of the Chamber, where their names are recorded by clerks. At each lobby are two Tellers (themselves members of the House) who count the votes of the Lords. The Lord Speaker may not take part in the vote. Once the division concludes, the Tellers provide the results thereof to the presiding officer, who then announces them to the House.
If there is an equality of votes, the motion is decided according to the following principles: legislation may proceed in its present form, unless there is a majority in favour of amending or rejecting it; any other motions are rejected, unless there is a majority in favour of approving it. The quorum of the House of Lords is just three members for a general or procedural vote, and 30 members for a vote on legislation. If fewer than three or 30 members (as appropriate) are present, the division is invalid.
Disciplinary powersBy contrast with the House of Commons, the House of Lords has not had an established procedure for putting sanctions on its members. When a cash for influence scandal was referred to the Committee of Privileges in January 2009, the Leader of the House of Lords
also asked the Privileges Committee to report on what sanctions the House had against its members. After seeking advice from the Attorney General for England and Wales
and the former Lord Chancellor
Lord Mackay of Clashfern, the committee decided that the House "possessed an inherent power" to suspend errant members, although not to withhold a Writ of summons nor to expel a member permanently. When the House subsequently suspended Lord Truscott
and Lord Taylor of Blackburn
for their role in the scandal, they were the first to meet this fate since 1642.
There are two other motions which have grown up through custom and practice and which govern questionable conduct within the House. They are brought into play by a member standing up, possibly intervening on another member, and moving the motion without notice. When the debate is getting excessively heated, it is open to a member to move "that the Standing Order on Asperity of Speech be read by the Clerk". The motion can be debated, but if agreed by the House, the Clerk of the Parliaments
will read out Standing Order 33 which provides "That all personal, sharp, or taxing speeches be forborn". The Journals of the House of Lords record only four instances on which the House has ordered the Standing Order to be read since the procedure was invented in 1871.
For more serious problems with an individual Lord, the option is available to move "That the noble Lord be no longer heard". This motion also is debatable, and the debate which ensues has sometimes offered a chance for the member whose conduct has brought it about to come to order so that the motion can be withdrawn. If the motion is passed, its effect is to prevent the member from continuing their speech on the motion then under debate. The Journals identify eleven occasions on which this motion has been moved since 1884; four were eventually withdrawn, one was voted down, and six were passed.
Leave of absenceIn 1958, to counter criticism that some peers only appeared at major decisions in the House and thereby particular votes were swayed, the Standing Orders of the House of Lords were enhanced. Peers who did not wish to attend meetings regularly or were prevented by ill health, age or further reasons, were now able to request Leave of Absence. During the granted time a peer is expected not to visit the House's meetings until either its expiration or termination, announced at least a month prior to their return.
CommitteesUnlike in the House of Commons, when the term committee is used to describe a stage of a bill, this committee does not take the form of a select committee, but what is described as Committee of the Whole House. It is made up of all Members of the House of Lords allowing any Member to contribute to debates if he or she chooses to do so and allows for more flexible rules of procedure. It is presided over by the Chairman of Committees
Another time in which the term committee is used in the House of Lords is to describe Grand Committee. In Grand Committee the same rules of procedure apply as in the main chamber, except that no divisions may take place. For this reason, business that is discussed in Grand Committee is usually uncontroversial and likely to be agreed unanimously.
Public bills may also be committed to pre-legislative committees. A pre-legislative Committee is specifically constituted for a particular bill. These committees are established in advance of the bill be laid before either the House of Lords or the House of Commons and can take evidence from the public. Such committees are rare and do not replace any of the usual stages of a bill, including committee stage.
The House of Lords also has several Select Committees. The members of these committees are appointed by the House at the beginning of each session, and continue to serve until the next parliamentary session begins. The House of Lords may appoint a chairman for a committee; if it does not do so, the Chairman of Committees or a Deputy Chairman of Committees may preside instead. Some of the Select Committees are also granded the power to co-opt sub-committee members, such as the European Union Committee. Most Select Committees are permanent, but the House may also establish ad hoc committees, which cease to exist upon the completion of a particular task (for instance, investigating the reform of the House of Lords). The primary function of Select Committees is to scrutinise and investigate Government activities; to fulfil these aims, they are permitted to hold hearings and collect evidence. Bills may be referred to Select Committees, but are more often sent to the Committee of the Whole House and Grand Committees.
The committee system of the House of Lords also includes several Domestic Committees, which supervise or consider the House's procedures and administration. One of the Domestic Committees is the Committee of Selection, which is responsible for assigning members to many of the House's other committees.
Current composition, the composition of the House of Lords is:
|Affiliation||Life peers||Hereditary peers||Lords spiritual||Total|
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...
| Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which supports constitutional and electoral reform, progressive taxation, wealth taxation, human rights laws, cultural liberalism, banking reform and civil liberties .The party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the...
| Democratic Unionist
Democratic Unionist Party
The Democratic Unionist Party is the larger of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland. Founded by Ian Paisley and currently led by Peter Robinson, it is currently the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the fourth-largest party in the House of Commons of the...
| Ulster Unionist
Ulster Unionist Party
The Ulster Unionist Party – sometimes referred to as the Official Unionist Party or, in a historic sense, simply the Unionist Party – is the more moderate of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland...
United Kingdom Independence Party
The United Kingdom Independence Party is a eurosceptic and right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. Whilst its primary goal is the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, the party has expanded beyond its single-issue image to develop a more comprehensive party platform.UKIP...
David Verney, 21st Baron Willoughby de Broke
Leopold David Verney, 21st Baron Willoughby de Broke, FRSA, FRGS is a British peer. He is one of the 92 hereditary peers elected to remain in the House of Lords after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999; originally elected a Conservative peer, he joined United Kingdom Independence Party in...
| Plaid Cymru
' is a political party in Wales. It advocates the establishment of an independent Welsh state within the European Union. was formed in 1925 and won its first seat in 1966...
Dafydd Wigley, Baron Wigley is a Welsh politician. He served as Plaid Cymru Member of Parliament for Caernarfon from 1974 until 2001 and as an Assembly Member for Caernarfon from 1999 until 2003. He was leader of the Plaid Cymru party from 1991 to 2000...
| Lords Spiritual
The Lords Spiritual of the United Kingdom, also called Spiritual Peers, are the 26 bishops of the established Church of England who serve in the House of Lords along with the Lords Temporal. The Church of Scotland, which is Presbyterian, is not represented by spiritual peers...
Ivon Moore-Brabazon, 3rd Baron Brabazon of Tara
Ivon Anthony Moore-Brabazon, 3rd Baron Brabazon of Tara, DL is a British Conservative politician.Lord Brabazon attended Harrow School and married Harriet Frances de Courcy Hamilton in 1979, with whom he had a son and a daughter...
Note: These figures exclude 22 Members who are on leave of absence, one who is suspended, 15 who are disqualified as senior members of the judiciary and one who is disqualified as an MEP
The House of Lords Act 1999
allocated 75 of the 92 hereditary peers to the parties based on the proportion of hereditary peers that belonged to that party in 1999:
- Conservative Party: 42 peers
- Labour Party: 2 peers
- Liberal Democrats: 3 peers
- Crossbenchers: 28 peers
Of the initial 42 hereditary peers elected as Conservatives, one (Lord Brabazon of Tara
) now sits as a non-affiliated member, having become the House of Lords' Chairman of Committees, and another (Lord Willoughby de Broke) now sits as UKIP
15 hereditary peers are elected by the whole House, and the remaining hereditary peers are the two royal office-holders, the Earl Marshal
and the Lord Great Chamberlain
, the latter being currently on leave of absence.
A report in 2007 stated that many members of the Lords (particularly the life peers) do not attend regularly; the average daily attendance was around 408.
While the number of hereditary peers is limited to 92, and that of Lords spiritual to 26, there is no maximum limit to the number of life peers who may be members of the House of Lords at any time.
Leaders in the Lords
- Lord StrathclydeThomas Galbraith, 2nd Baron StrathclydeThomas Galloway Dunlop du Roy de Blicquy Galbraith, 2nd Baron Strathclyde, PC , is a British politician. He is currently the Leader of the House of Lords and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster as well as being the leader of the Conservative Party in the House of Lords...
– Leader of the House of LordsLeader of the House of LordsThe Leader of the House of Lords is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Lords. The role is always held in combination with a formal Cabinet position, usually one of the sinecure offices of Lord President of the Council,...
(ConservativeConservative Party (UK)The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...
), Chancellor of the Duchy of LancasterChancellor of the Duchy of LancasterThe Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is, in modern times, a ministerial office in the government of the United Kingdom that includes as part of its duties, the administration of the estates and rents of the Duchy of Lancaster...
- Lord McNallyThomas McNally, Baron McNallyTom McNally, Baron McNally, PC is a British politician and the current Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords and a Minister of State for Justice.-Early life:...
– Minister of State for Justice and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords (Liberal DemocratsLiberal DemocratsThe Liberal Democrats are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which supports constitutional and electoral reform, progressive taxation, wealth taxation, human rights laws, cultural liberalism, banking reform and civil liberties .The party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the...
- Baroness Warsi, Cabinet Minister without Portfolio & Chairman of the Conservative Party
- Lord Howell of GuildfordDavid Howell, Baron Howell of GuildfordDavid Arthur Russell Howell, Baron Howell of Guildford, PC , is a British Conservative politician, journalist, and economic consultant. Having been successively Secretary of State for Energy and then for Transport under Margaret Thatcher, Howell is now a Minister of State in the Foreign Office...
, Minister of State for Commonwealth Affairs in the Foreign and Commonwealth OfficeForeign and Commonwealth OfficeThe Foreign and Commonwealth Office, commonly called the Foreign Office or the FCO is a British government department responsible for promoting the interests of the United Kingdom overseas, created in 1968 by merging the Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Office.The head of the FCO is the...
- Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, Minister of State for Trade and Investment in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for Business, Innovation and SkillsDepartment for Business, Innovation and SkillsThe Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is a ministerial department of the United Kingdom Government created on 5 June 2009 by the merger of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform .-Ministers:The BIS...
- Lord Wallace of Tankerness, Advocate General for ScotlandAdvocate General for ScotlandHer Majesty's Advocate General for Scotland is one of the Law Officers of the Crown, whose duty it is to advise the Crown and UK Government on Scots law...
- Baroness Anelay of St JohnsJoyce Anelay, Baroness Anelay of St JohnsJoyce Anne Anelay, Baroness Anelay of St. Johns, DBE, PC is a Conservative member of the House of Lords and has been the Government Chief Whip in the House of Lords since 12 May 2010, having previously been Opposition Chief Whip before the May 2010 General Election.-Early life:She was born Joyce...
, Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at ArmsHonourable Corps of Gentlemen at ArmsHer Majesty's Bodyguard of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms is a bodyguard to the British Monarch. Until 17 March 1834 they were known as The Honourable Band of Gentlemen Pensioners.-Formation:...
& Chief Government Whip
- Lord Shutt of GreetlandDavid Shutt, Baron Shutt of GreetlandDavid Trevor Shutt, Baron Shutt of Greetland, OBE, PC is a British Liberal Democrat politician, currently serving as Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard and Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Lords.-Career:...
, Captain of the Yeomen of the GuardCaptain of the Yeomen of the GuardThe Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard is a UK government post usually held by the Government Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Lords...
& Deputy Chief Whip
- Lord SassoonJames Sassoon, Baron SassoonJames Meyer Sassoon, Baron Sassoon, Kt, FCA is the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, a ministerial position in HM Treasury, the UK's finance ministry. Sassoon had a long career in the financial sector and previously served in various roles at the Treasury from 2002 to 2008, at which point he...
, Commercial Secretary to the TreasuryCommercial Secretary to the TreasuryThe Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, or City Minister, is a United Kingdom Government minister in HM Treasury who ranks as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State. The position has a wide range of duties related to business, and the financial sector in particular...
- Lord Astor of HeverJohn Astor, 3rd Baron Astor of HeverJohn Jacob Astor, 3rd Baron Astor of Hever, DL is a British businessman and Conservative elected hereditary peer in the House of Lords...
, Under-Secretary of State for Defence
- Lord Hill of OarefordJonathan Hill, Baron Hill of OarefordJonathan Hopkin Hill, Baron Hill of Oareford, CBE is a British politician and is currently Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools in the Department for Education.-Early life:...
, Under-Secretary of State for Schools in the Department of Education
- Baroness WilcoxJudith Wilcox, Baroness WilcoxJudith Ann Wilcox, Baroness Wilcox is a Conservative member of the House of Lords. Since May 2010 she has been a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills....
, Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
- Earl HoweFrederick Curzon, 7th Earl HoweFrederick Richard Penn Curzon, 7th Earl Howe is a Conservative front bench member of the House of Lords, and is a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health-Political and professional career:...
, Under-Secretary of State for Quality in the Department of HealthDepartment of Health (United Kingdom)The Department of Health is a department of the United Kingdom government with responsibility for government policy for health and social care matters and for the National Health Service in England along with a few elements of the same matters which are not otherwise devolved to the Scottish,...
- Lord Freud, Under-Secretary of State for Welfare Reform in the Department for Work and PensionsDepartment for Work and PensionsThe Department for Work and Pensions is the largest government department in the United Kingdom, created on June 8, 2001 from the merger of the employment part of the Department for Education and Employment and the Department of Social Security and headed by the Secretary of State for Work and...
- Lord MarlandJonathan Marland, Baron MarlandJonathan Peter Marland, Baron Marland is a British businessman and former Treasurer of the Conservative Party. He was awarded a life peerage in 2006 as Baron Marland, of Odstock in the County of Wiltshire.-Education:...
, Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
- Lord HenleyOliver Eden, 8th Baron HenleyOliver Michael Robert Eden, 8th Baron Henley is a British politician and Conservative member of the House of Lords, currently a Minister of State at the Home Office with responsibility for Crime Prevention and Anti-Social Behaviour Reduction, a role in which he succeeded Lady Browning in September...
Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
- Gunpowder PlotGunpowder PlotThe Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in earlier centuries often called the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason, was a failed assassination attempt against King James I of England and VI of Scotland by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby.The plan was to blow up the House of...
- Constitution Committee
- House of Lords LibraryHouse of Lords LibraryThe House of Lords Library is the library and information resource of the House of Lords, the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom...
- Introduction (House of Lords)Introduction (House of Lords)Introduction is a ceremony in the House of Lords whereby new members are "introduced" to the existing membership. Introductions in the Lords are more elaborate than those in the House of Commons.-Origins:...
- Parliamentary ArchivesParliamentary ArchivesThe Parliamentary Archives of the United Kingdom preserves and makes available to public the records of the House of Lords and House of Commons back to 1497, as well as some 200 other collections of Parliamentary interest...
- Official website
- Archives of the House of Lords
- Guide to the Lords from the BBCBBCThe British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...
- History of Parliament
- The British Broadcasting Corporation. (2005). "A–Z of Parliament."
- House of Lords at BBC NewsBBC NewsBBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...
- The Parliament of the United Kingdom. Parliament Live TV.
- Summary of House of Lords debate on proposals for reform 29 June 2010