House of Lords
Overview
 
The House of Lords is the upper house
Upper house
An upper house, often called a senate, is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house; a legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.- Possible specific characteristics :...

 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Lords and the House of Commons...

.

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.
Timeline

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.

Encyclopedia
The House of Lords is the upper house
Upper house
An upper house, often called a senate, is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house; a legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.- Possible specific characteristics :...

 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Lords and the House of Commons...

.

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
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...

, who sit in the Lords by virtue of their ecclesiastical role in the established Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

. The Lords Temporal make up the rest of the membership; of these, the majority are life peer
Life peer
In the United Kingdom, life peers are appointed members of the Peerage whose titles cannot be inherited. Nowadays life peerages, always of baronial rank, are created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 and entitle the holders to seats in the House of Lords, presuming they meet qualifications such as...

s who are appointed by the Monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

, 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
Leave of absence
Leave of absence is a term used to describe a period of time that one is to be away from his/her primary job, while maintaining the status of employee...

 or otherwise disqualified from sitting), as against the fixed 650-seat membership of the House of Commons.

The Speech from the throne
Speech from the Throne
A speech from the throne is an event in certain monarchies in which the reigning sovereign reads a prepared speech to a complete session of parliament, outlining the government's agenda for the coming session...

, 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
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 role in that through the Lords Spiritual
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...

 Church Measures must be tabled within the House. The formal title of the House of Lords is The Right Honourable
The Right Honourable
The Right Honourable is an honorific prefix that is traditionally applied to certain people in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Anglophone Caribbean and other Commonwealth Realms, and occasionally elsewhere...

 the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled
.

History

Today's Parliament of the United Kingdom largely descends, in practice, from the Parliament of England
Parliament of England
The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England. In 1066, William of Normandy introduced a feudal system, by which he sought the advice of a council of tenants-in-chief and ecclesiastics before making laws...

, though the 1706 Treaty of Union
Treaty of Union
The Treaty of Union is the name given to the agreement that led to the creation of the united kingdom of Great Britain, the political union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, which took effect on 1 May 1707...

 and the Acts of Union that ratified the Treaty created a new Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and Parliament of Scotland...

 to replace the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland
Parliament of Scotland
The Parliament of Scotland, officially the Estates of Parliament, was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The unicameral parliament of Scotland is first found on record during the early 13th century, with the first meeting for which a primary source survives at...

. This new parliament was, in effect, the continuation of the Parliament of England with the addition of 45 MPs
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 and 16 Peers to represent Scotland.

The Parliament of England developed from the Magnum Concilium
Magnum Concilium
In the kingdom of England, the Magnum Concilium, or Great Council, was an assembly convened at certain times of the year when church leaders and wealthy landowners were invited to discuss the affairs of the country with the king. It was established in the reign of the Normans, and was called for...

, 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
Counties of the United Kingdom
The counties of the United Kingdom are subnational divisions of the United Kingdom, used for the purposes of administrative, geographical and political demarcation. By the Middle Ages counties had become established as a unit of local government, at least in England. By the early 17th century all...

 (afterwards, representatives of the boroughs
Parliamentary borough
Parliamentary boroughs are a type of administrative division, usually covering urban areas, that are entitled to representation in a Parliament...

 as well). The first Parliament is often considered to be the "Model Parliament
Model Parliament
The Model Parliament is the term, attributed to Frederic William Maitland, used for the 1295 Parliament of England of King Edward I. This assembly included members of the clergy and the aristocracy, as well as representatives from the various counties and boroughs. Each county returned two knights,...

" (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
Edward II of England
Edward II , called Edward of Caernarfon, was King of England from 1307 until he was deposed by his wife Isabella in January 1327. He was the sixth Plantagenet king, in a line that began with the reign of Henry II...

 (1307–1327), the nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

 was supreme, the Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...

 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
Edward III of England
Edward III was King of England from 1327 until his death and is noted for his military success. Restoring royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father, Edward II, Edward III went on to transform the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe...

. 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
Wars of the Roses
The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic civil wars for the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the houses of Lancaster and York...

. 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
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 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
Tudor dynasty
The Tudor dynasty or House of Tudor was a European royal house of Welsh origin that ruled the Kingdom of England and its realms, including the Lordship of Ireland, later the Kingdom of Ireland, from 1485 until 1603. Its first monarch was Henry Tudor, a descendant through his mother of a legitimised...

 in the 16th century. The Crown was at the height of its power during the reign of Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 (1509–1547).

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
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

 during the 1640s. In 1649, after the defeat and execution of King Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

, the Commonwealth of England
Commonwealth of England
The Commonwealth of England was the republic which ruled first England, and then Ireland and Scotland from 1649 to 1660. Between 1653–1659 it was known as the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland...

 was declared, but the nation was effectively under the overall control of Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

, 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 century

The 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
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

 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
Reform Act 1832
The Representation of the People Act 1832 was an Act of Parliament that introduced wide-ranging changes to the electoral system of England and Wales...

. 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
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 were not represented by a single individual in the House of Commons, but the 11 voters of Old Sarum
Old Sarum (UK Parliament constituency)
Old Sarum was the most infamous of the so-called 'rotten boroughs', a parliamentary constituency of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland which was effectively controlled by a single person, until it was abolished under the Reform Act 1832. The constituency was the site of what had been...

 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
Rotten borough
A "rotten", "decayed" or pocket borough was a parliamentary borough or constituency in the United Kingdom that had a very small electorate and could be used by a patron to gain undue and unrepresentative influence within Parliament....

", 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
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, KG, PC , known as Viscount Howick between 1806 and 1807, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 22 November 1830 to 16 July 1834. A member of the Whig Party, he backed significant reform of the British government and was among the...

, 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
William IV of the United Kingdom
William IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death...

 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 century

The 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
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

, David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor OM, PC was a British Liberal politician and statesman...

, introduced into the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 the "People's Budget
People's Budget
The 1909 People's Budget was a product of then British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith's Liberal government, introducing many unprecedented taxes on the wealthy and radical social welfare programmes to Britain's political life...

", 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
Parliament Act 1911
The Parliament Act 1911 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is constitutionally important and partly governs the relationship between the House of Commons and the House of Lords which make up the Houses of Parliament. This Act must be construed as one with the Parliament Act 1949...

 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
Life Peerages Act 1958
The Life Peerages Act 1958 established the modern standards for the creation of life peers by the monarch of the United Kingdom. Life peers are barons and are members of the House of Lords for life, but their titles and membership in the Lords are not inherited by their children. Judicial life...

, 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
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

 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
Enoch Powell
John Enoch Powell, MBE was a British politician, classical scholar, poet, writer, and soldier. He served as a Conservative Party MP and Minister of Health . He attained most prominence in 1968, when he made the controversial Rivers of Blood speech in opposition to mass immigration from...

), and Labour members who continued to advocate the outright abolition of the Upper House (such as Michael Foot
Michael Foot
Michael Mackintosh Foot, FRSL, PC was a British Labour Party politician, journalist and author, who was a Member of Parliament from 1945 to 1955 and from 1960 until 1992...

).

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
Neil Kinnock
Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock is a Welsh politician belonging to the Labour Party. He served as a Member of Parliament from 1970 until 1995 and as Labour Leader and Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition from 1983 until 1992 - his leadership of the party during nearly nine years making him...

, 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
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

 in the 1980s.

Whilst some hereditary peers were at best apathetic the Labour Party's clear commitments were not lost on Baron Sudeley
Merlin Hanbury-Tracy, 7th Baron Sudeley
Merlin Charles Sainthill Hanbury-Tracy, 7th Baron Sudeley, FSA is a British peer, author and veteran right-wing activist. In 1941, at the age of three, he succeeded his first cousin once removed, the 6th Lord Sudeley, to the Barony of Sudeley and until the House of Lords Act 1999 sat in that body...

 who for decades had been considered an expert on the House of Lords. In December 1979 the Conservative Monday Club
Conservative Monday Club
The Conservative Monday Club is a British pressure group "on the right-wing" of the Conservative Party.-Overview:...

 published his extensive paper entitled Lords Reform – Why tamper with the House of Lords? and in July 1980 The Monarchist
International Monarchist League
The International Monarchist League is an organisation dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the monarchical system of government and the principle of monarchy worldwide...

 (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
Manifesto
A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature. Manifestos relating to religious belief are generally referred to as creeds. Manifestos may also be life stance-related.-Etymology:...

 a commitment to remove the hereditary peerage from the House of Lords. Their subsequent election victory in 1997 under Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 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
House of Lords Act 1999
The House of Lords Act 1999 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that was given Royal Assent on 11 November 1999. The Act reformed the House of Lords, one of the chambers of Parliament. For centuries, the House of Lords had included several hundred members who inherited their seats;...

 (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
Joint committee
A Joint Committee is a term in politics that is used to refer to a committee made up of members of both chambers of a bicameral legislature. In other contexts, it refers to a committee with members from more than one organization.-Republic of Ireland:...

 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
Kenneth Clarke
Kenneth Harry "Ken" Clarke, QC, MP is a British Conservative politician, currently Member of Parliament for Rushcliffe, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. He was first elected to Parliament in 1970; and appointed a minister in Edward Heath's government, in 1972, and is one of...

, Paul Tyler, Tony Wright, Sir George Young
Sir George Young, 6th Baronet
Sir George Samuel Knatchbull Young, 6th Baronet is a British politician. He is currently the Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal, and has served as a Conservative Party Member of Parliament since 1974, having represented North West Hampshire since 1997, and Ealing Acton before...

 and the late Robin Cook
Robin Cook
Robert Finlayson Cook was a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Livingston from 1983 until his death, and notably served in the Cabinet as Foreign Secretary from 1997 to 2001....

) published a report proposing that 70% of members of the House of Lords
Members of the House of Lords
This is a list of members of the House of Lords, the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.-Lords Spiritual:-Lords Temporal:-Peers on leave of absence:...

 should be elected – each member for a single long term – by the single transferable vote
Single transferable vote
The single transferable vote is a voting system designed to achieve proportional representation through preferential voting. Under STV, an elector's vote is initially allocated to his or her most preferred candidate, and then, after candidates have been either elected or eliminated, any surplus or...

 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
Elect the Lords
Elect The Lords is a campaign established in September 2004 by the New Politics Network and Charter88 calling for the United Kingdom House of Lords to be replaced by a predominantly elected upper house...

" was set up to make the case for a predominantly elected Second Chamber in the run up to the 2005 general election
United Kingdom general election, 2005
The United Kingdom general election of 2005 was held on Thursday, 5 May 2005 to elect 646 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party under Tony Blair won its third consecutive victory, but with a majority of 66, reduced from 160....

.

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
Senate
A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or chamber of a legislature or parliament. There have been many such bodies in history, since senate means the assembly of the eldest and wiser members of the society and ruling class...

. 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
Jack Straw
Jack Straw , British politician.Jack Straw may also refer to:* Jack Straw , English* "Jack Straw" , 1971 song by the Grateful Dead* Jack Straw by W...

, the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

, introduced a white paper
White paper
A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that helps solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions, and are often requested and used in politics, policy, business, and technical fields. In commercial use, the term has also come to refer to...

 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
White paper
A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that helps solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions, and are often requested and used in politics, policy, business, and technical fields. In commercial use, the term has also come to refer to...

 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 Government

The 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
Loss of Supply
Loss of supply occurs where a government in a parliamentary democracy using the Westminster System or a system derived from it is denied a supply of treasury or exchequer funds, by whichever house or houses of parliament or head of state is constitutionally entitled to grant and deny supply. A...

. 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
Alec Douglas-Home
Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Baron Home of the Hirsel, KT, PC , known as The Earl of Home from 1951 to 1963 and as Sir Alec Douglas-Home from 1963 to 1974, was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from October 1963 to October 1964.He is the last...

, 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
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

 and Leader of the House of Lords
Leader of the House of Lords
The 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,...

) to have been filled by peers.

Exceptions include Lord Carrington
Peter Carington, 6th Baron Carrington
Peter Alexander Rupert Carington, 6th Baron Carrington, is a British Conservative politician. He served as British Foreign Secretary between 1979 and 1982 and as the sixth Secretary General of NATO from 1984 to 1988. He is the last surviving member of the Cabinets of both Harold Macmillan and Sir...

, who was the Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, commonly referred to as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior member of Her Majesty's Government heading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and regarded as one of the Great Offices of State...

 between 1979 and 1982, Lord Young of Graffham (Minister without Portfolio
Minister without Portfolio
A minister without portfolio is either a government minister with no specific responsibilities or a minister that does not head a particular ministry...

, then Secretary of State for Employment
Secretary of State for Employment
The Secretary of State for Employment was a position in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. In 1995 it was merged with Secretary of State for Education to make the Secretary of State for Education and Employment...

 and then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills is a cabinet position in the United Kingdom government. Its secondary title is the President of the Board of Trade...

 from 1984 to 1989), and Lord Mandelson
Peter Mandelson
Peter Benjamin Mandelson, Baron Mandelson, PC is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Hartlepool from 1992 to 2004, served in a number of Cabinet positions under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and was a European Commissioner...

, who served as First Secretary of State
First Secretary of State
First Secretary of State is an occasionally used title within the Government of the United Kingdom, principally regarded as purely honorific. The title, which implies seniority over all other Secretaries of State, has no specific powers or authority attached to it beyond that of any other Secretary...

, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and President of the Board of Trade. George Robertson
George Robertson, Baron Robertson of Port Ellen
George Islay MacNeill Robertson, Baron Robertson of Port Ellen, is a British Labour Party politician who was the tenth Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, between October 1999 and early January 2004; he succeeded Javier Solana in that position...

 was briefly a peer whilst serving as Secretary of State for Defence
Secretary of State for Defence
The Secretary of State for Defence, popularly known as the Defence Secretary, is the senior Government of the United Kingdom minister in charge of the Ministry of Defence, chairing the Defence Council. It is a Cabinet position...

 before resigning to take up the post of Secretary General of NATO
Secretary General of NATO
The Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is the chairman of the North Atlantic Council, the supreme decision-making organisation of the defence alliance. The Secretary-General also serves as the leader of the organisation's staff and as its chief spokesman...

. From 1999 to 2010 the Attorney General for England and Wales
Attorney General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known simply as the Attorney General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. Along with the subordinate Solicitor General for England and Wales, the Attorney General serves as the chief legal adviser of the Crown and its government in...

 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.

Legislative functions

Legislation, with the exception of money bills, may be introduced in either House.

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
Royal Assent
The granting of royal assent refers to the method by which any constitutional monarch formally approves and promulgates an act of his or her nation's parliament, thus making it a law...

 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
Constitutional convention (political custom)
A constitutional convention is an informal and uncodified procedural agreement that is followed by the institutions of a state. In some states, notably those Commonwealth of Nations states that follow the Westminster system and whose political systems derive from British constitutional law, most...

 known as the Salisbury Convention
Salisbury Convention
The Salisbury Convention is a constitutional convention in the United Kingdom which puts forward that the House of Lords will not oppose the second or third reading of any government legislation promised in its election manifesto.Following a landslide Labour general election victory in...

, which means that the House of Lords does not oppose legislation promised in the Government's election manifesto
Manifesto
A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature. Manifestos relating to religious belief are generally referred to as creeds. Manifestos may also be life stance-related.-Etymology:...

.

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 role

Historically, 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
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the supreme court in all matters under English law, Northern Ireland law and Scottish civil law. It is the court of last resort and highest appellate court in the United Kingdom; however the High Court of Justiciary remains the supreme court for criminal...

.

The Lords' judicial functions originated from the ancient role of the Curia Regis
Curia Regis
Curia regis is a Latin term meaning "royal council" or "king's court."- England :The Curia Regis, in the Kingdom of England, was a council of tenants-in-chief and ecclesiastics that advised the king of England on legislative matters...

 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
Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876
The Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that altered the judicial functions of the House of Lords. The act was repealed by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which transferred the judicial functions from the House of Lords to the Supreme Court of the...

.

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
High Court of Justiciary
The High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court of Scotland.The High Court is both a court of first instance and a court of appeal. As a court of first instance, the High Court sits mainly in Parliament House, or in the former Sheriff Court building, in Edinburgh, but also sits from time...

 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
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is one of the highest courts in the United Kingdom. Established by the Judicial Committee Act 1833 to hear appeals formerly heard by the King in Council The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is one of the highest courts in the United...

 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
House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975
The House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that prohibits certain categories of people from becoming members of the House of Commons...

, and a few other minor matters. Issues related to devolution
Devolution
Devolution is the statutory granting of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to government at a subnational level, such as a regional, local, or state level. Devolution can be mainly financial, e.g. giving areas a budget which was formerly administered by central government...

 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
European Court of Justice
The Court can sit in plenary session, as a Grand Chamber of 13 judges, or in chambers of three or five judges. Plenary sitting are now very rare, and the court mostly sits in chambers of three or five judges...

 in cases involving an element of European Union law
European Union law
European Union law is a body of treaties and legislation, such as Regulations and Directives, which have direct effect or indirect effect on the laws of European Union member states. The three sources of European Union law are primary law, secondary law and supplementary law...

, and a case could be brought at the European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or...

 if the House of Lords did not provide a satisfactory remedy in cases where the European Convention on Human Rights
European Convention on Human Rights
The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on 3 September 1953...

 was relevant.

A distinct judicial function—one in which the whole House used to participate—is that of trying impeachment
Impeachment
Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as other punishment....

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
Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville PC and Baron Dunira was a Scottish lawyer and politician. He was the first Secretary of State for War and the last person to be impeached in the United Kingdom....

 in 1806.

Similarly, the House of Lords was once the court that tried peers charged with high treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 or felony
Felony
A felony is a serious crime in the common law countries. The term originates from English common law where felonies were originally crimes which involved the confiscation of a convicted person's land and goods; other crimes were called misdemeanors...

. The House would be presided over not by the Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

, but by the Lord High Steward
Lord High Steward
The position of Lord High Steward of England is the first of the Great Officers of State. The office has generally remained vacant since 1421, except at coronations and during the trials of peers in the House of Lords, when the Lord High Steward presides. In general, but not invariably, the Lord...

, 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
Edward Southwell Russell, 26th Baron de Clifford
Lieutenant Colonel Edward Southwell Russell, 26th Baron de Clifford, OBE, TD was the only son of Jack Southwell Russell, 25th Baron de Clifford, and Eva Carrington....

 in 1935.

The Constitutional Reform Act 2005
Constitutional Reform Act 2005
The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It provided for a Supreme Court of the United Kingdom to take over the existing role of the Law Lords as well as some powers of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and removed the functions of Speaker of...

 resulted in the creation of a separate Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the supreme court in all matters under English law, Northern Ireland law and Scottish civil law. It is the court of last resort and highest appellate court in the United Kingdom; however the High Court of Justiciary remains the supreme court for criminal...

, 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
Middlesex Guildhall
The Middlesex Guildhall is the home of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. It stands on the south-west corner of Parliament Square in London.-History:...

.

Lords Spiritual

Members 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
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

s, diocesan bishops
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

, abbot
Abbot
The word abbot, meaning father, is a title given to the head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not actually the head of a monastery...

s, and those prior
Prior
Prior is an ecclesiastical title, derived from the Latin adjective for 'earlier, first', with several notable uses.-Monastic superiors:A Prior is a monastic superior, usually lower in rank than an Abbot. In the Rule of St...

s who were entitled to wear a mitre
Mitre
The mitre , also spelled miter, is a type of headwear now known as the traditional, ceremonial head-dress of bishops and certain abbots in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as in the Anglican Communion, some Lutheran churches, and also bishops and certain other clergy in the Eastern Orthodox...

. After 1539, however, only the archbishops and bishops continued to attend, for the Dissolution of the Monasteries
Dissolution of the Monasteries
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their...

 suppressed the positions of abbot and prior. In 1642, during the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

, the Lords Spiritual were excluded altogether, but they returned under the Clergy Act 1661
Clergy Act 1661
The Clergy Act 1661 was an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of England passed in 1661. It "repealed, annulled and made void to all intents and purposes" the Clergy Act 1640, which had prevented those in holy orders from exercising any temporal jurisdiction or authority...

.

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
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

, the Archbishop of York
Archbishop of York
The Archbishop of York is a high-ranking cleric in the Church of England, second only to the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of York and metropolitan of the Province of York, which covers the northern portion of England as well as the Isle of Man...

, the Bishop of London
Bishop of London
The Bishop of London is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of London in the Province of Canterbury.The diocese covers 458 km² of 17 boroughs of Greater London north of the River Thames and a small part of the County of Surrey...

, the Bishop of Durham, the Bishop of Winchester
Bishop of Winchester
The Bishop of Winchester is the head of the Church of England diocese of Winchester, with his cathedra at Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire.The bishop is one of five Church of England bishops to be among the Lords Spiritual regardless of their length of service. His diocese is one of the oldest and...

 and the 21 longest-serving bishops from other diocese
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

s in the Church of England (excluding the dioceses of Sodor and Man
Diocese of Sodor and Man
Sodor and Man is a diocese of the Church of England. Originally much larger, today it covers just the Isle of Man and its adjacent islets.-Early history:...

 and Gibraltar in Europe
Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe
The Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe is geographically the largest diocese of the Church of England and arguably the largest diocese in the Anglican Communion, covering some one-sixth of the Earth's landmass, including Morocco, Europe , Turkey, and the territory of the former Soviet...

, as these lie entirely outside the United Kingdom).

The current Lords Spiritual represent only the Church of England. Bishops of the Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

 traditionally sat in the Parliament of Scotland
Parliament of Scotland
The Parliament of Scotland, officially the Estates of Parliament, was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The unicameral parliament of Scotland is first found on record during the early 13th century, with the first meeting for which a primary source survives at...

 but were excluded in 1638 following the Scottish Reformation
Scottish Reformation
The Scottish Reformation was Scotland's formal break with the Papacy in 1560, and the events surrounding this. It was part of the wider European Protestant Reformation; and in Scotland's case culminated ecclesiastically in the re-establishment of the church along Reformed lines, and politically in...

. There are no longer bishops in the Church of Scotland
Bishops in the Church of Scotland
There have not been bishops in the Church of Scotland since the 17th century, although there have occasionally been attempts to reintroduce episcopalianism....

 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
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

 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
Church in Wales
The Church in Wales is the Anglican church in Wales, composed of six dioceses.As with the primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Archbishop of Wales serves concurrently as one of the six diocesan bishops. The current archbishop is Barry Morgan, the Bishop of Llandaff.In contrast to the...

 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
Chief Rabbi
Chief Rabbi is a title given in several countries to the recognized religious leader of that country's Jewish community, or to a rabbinic leader appointed by the local secular authorities...

 Immanuel Jakobovits
Immanuel Jakobovits
Immanuel Jakobovits, Baron Jakobovits, Kt was the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1967 to 1991. His successor is the present Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks.-Biography:...

 was appointed to the House of Lords (with the consent of the Queen, who acted on the advice of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

), and his successor Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Jonathan Sacks
Jonathan Henry Sacks, Baron Sacks, Kt is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. His Hebrew name is Yaakov Zvi...

 does as well. In recognition of his work at reconciliation and in the Peace Process
Northern Ireland peace process
The peace process, when discussing the history of Northern Ireland, is often considered to cover the events leading up to the 1994 Provisional Irish Republican Army ceasefire, the end of most of the violence of the Troubles, the Belfast Agreement, and subsequent political developments.-Towards a...

, the Archbishop of Armagh
Archbishop of Armagh (Church of Ireland)
The Anglican Archbishop of Armagh is the ecclesiastical head of the Church of Ireland, the metropolitan of the Province of Armagh and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Armagh....

 (the senior Anglican bishop in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

), Lord Eames was appointed to the Lords by John Major
John Major
Sir John Major, is a British Conservative politician, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990–1997...

. Other clergymen appointed include the Reverend Donald Soper
Donald Soper
Donald Oliver Soper, Baron Soper was a prominent Methodist minister, socialist and pacifist.Soper was born at 36 Knoll Road, Wandsworth, London, the first son and first child of the three children of Ernest Frankham Soper , an average adjuster in marine insurance, the son of a tailor, and his...

, 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
Canon law
Canon law is the body of laws & regulations made or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Catholic Church , the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of...

 from holding offices connected with the government of any state other than the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

, 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
Rowan Williams
Rowan Douglas Williams FRSL, FBA, FLSW is an Anglican bishop, poet and theologian. He is the 104th and current Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England, offices he has held since early 2003.Williams was previously Bishop of Monmouth and...

, the Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

, opened a debate into sentencing legislation. Measures (proposed laws
Bill (proposed law)
A bill is a proposed law under consideration by a legislature. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an act or a statute....

 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 Temporal

Since the Dissolution of the Monasteries
Dissolution of the Monasteries
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their...

, 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
Duke
A duke or duchess is a member of the nobility, historically of highest rank below the monarch, and historically controlling a duchy...

s, marquess
Marquess
A marquess or marquis is a nobleman of hereditary rank in various European peerages and in those of some of their former colonies. The term is also used to translate equivalent oriental styles, as in imperial China, Japan, and Vietnam...

es, earl
Earl
An earl is a member of the nobility. The title is Anglo-Saxon, akin to the Scandinavian form jarl, and meant "chieftain", particularly a chieftain set to rule a territory in a king's stead. In Scandinavia, it became obsolete in the Middle Ages and was replaced with duke...

s, viscount
Viscount
A viscount or viscountess is a member of the European nobility whose comital title ranks usually, as in the British peerage, above a baron, below an earl or a count .-Etymology:...

s, and baron
Baron
Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

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
Lord Great Chamberlain
The Lord Great Chamberlain of England is the sixth of the Great Officers of State, ranking beneath the Lord Privy Seal and above the Lord High Constable...

. 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
Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876
The Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that altered the judicial functions of the House of Lords. The act was repealed by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which transferred the judicial functions from the House of Lords to the Supreme Court of the...

. 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
Statutory Instrument
A Statutory Instrument is the principal form in which delegated or secondary legislation is made in Great Britain.Statutory Instruments are governed by the Statutory Instruments Act 1946. They replaced Statutory Rules and Orders, made under the Rules Publication Act 1893, in 1948.Most delegated...

. 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
Constitutional Reform Act 2005
The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It provided for a Supreme Court of the United Kingdom to take over the existing role of the Law Lords as well as some powers of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and removed the functions of Speaker of...

, the existing Lords of Appeal in Ordinary became judges of the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the supreme court in all matters under English law, Northern Ireland law and Scottish civil law. It is the court of last resort and highest appellate court in the United Kingdom; however the High Court of Justiciary remains the supreme court for criminal...

 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
Life peer
In the United Kingdom, life peers are appointed members of the Peerage whose titles cannot be inherited. Nowadays life peerages, always of baronial rank, are created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 and entitle the holders to seats in the House of Lords, presuming they meet qualifications such as...

s. Life peerages rank only as barons or baronesses, and are created under the Life Peerages Act 1958
Life Peerages Act 1958
The Life Peerages Act 1958 established the modern standards for the creation of life peers by the monarch of the United Kingdom. Life peers are barons and are members of the House of Lords for life, but their titles and membership in the Lords are not inherited by their children. Judicial life...

. 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
Peerage Act 1963
The Peerage Act 1963 is the Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that permitted peeresses in their own right and all Scottish hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, and which allows newly inherited hereditary peerages to be "disclaimed".-Background:The Act resulted largely from the...

, under which all Scottish peers obtained seats in the Upper House.

Qualifications

Several 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
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 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
Act of Settlement 1701
The Act of Settlement is an act of the Parliament of England that was passed in 1701 to settle the succession to the English throne on the Electress Sophia of Hanover and her Protestant heirs. The act was later extended to Scotland, as a result of the Treaty of Union , enacted in the Acts of Union...

, and prior to the British Nationality Act 1948
British Nationality Act 1948
The British Nationality Act 1948 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that created the status of "Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies" as the national citizenship of the United Kingdom and its colonies....

, 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
High treason
High treason is criminal disloyalty to one's government. Participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplomats, or its secret services for a hostile and foreign power, or attempting to kill its head of state are perhaps...

 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.

Officers

Traditionally 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
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

. With the passage of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005
Constitutional Reform Act 2005
The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It provided for a Supreme Court of the United Kingdom to take over the existing role of the Law Lords as well as some powers of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and removed the functions of Speaker of...

, the post of Lord Speaker
Lord Speaker
The Lord Speaker is the speaker of the House of Lords in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The office is analogous to the Speaker of the House of Commons: the Lord Speaker is elected by the members of the House of Lords and is expected to be politically impartial.Until July 2006, the role of...

 was created, a position to which a peer is elected by the House and subsequently appointed by the Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...

. The first Lord Speaker, elected on 4 May 2006, is Baroness Hayman
Helene Hayman, Baroness Hayman
Helene Valerie Hayman, Baroness Hayman, PC was Lord Speaker of the House of Lords in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. As a member of the Labour Party she was a Member of Parliament from 1974 to 1979, and became a Life Peer in 1996...

, 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
Westminster System
The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

, 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 Lord Speaker may be replaced as presiding officer by one of his or her deputies. The Chairman of Committees
Chairman of Committees
The Chairman of Committees is an officer of the House of Lords who presides over the House when it is in committee both in the Lords Chamber and in Grand Committee, which is when committee stage is taken away from the floor to free up debating time in the main Chamber...

, 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
Woolsack
The Woolsack is the seat of the Lord Speaker in the House of Lords, the Upper House of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. From the Middle Ages until 2006, the presiding officer in the House of Lords was the Lord Chancellor and the Woolsack was usually mentioned in association with the office of...

, 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
Leader of the House of Lords
The 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,...

, 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
Clerk of the Parliaments
The Clerk of the Parliaments is the chief clerk of the House of Lords in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The position has existed since at least 1315, and duties include preparing the minutes of Lords proceedings, advising on proper parliamentary procedure and pronouncing the Royal Assent...

 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
Black Rod
The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, generally shortened to just Black Rod, is an official in the parliaments of several Commonwealth countries. The position originates in the House of Lords of the Parliament of the United Kingdom...

 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
Serjeant-at-Arms
A Sergeant-at-Arms is an officer appointed by a deliberative body, usually a legislature, to keep order during its meetings. The word sergeant is derived from the Latin serviens, which means "servant"....

 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.

Procedure

See also the stages of a bill section in Acts of Parliament in the United Kingdom
Acts of Parliament in the United Kingdom
An 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
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Lords and the House of Commons...

. 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
State Opening of Parliament
In the United Kingdom, the State Opening of Parliament is an annual event that marks the commencement of a session of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is held in the House of Lords Chamber, usually in November or December or, in a general election year, when the new Parliament first assembles...

, held at the beginning of each new parliamentary session. During the State Opening, the Sovereign
British monarchy
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

, 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
Cloture
In parliamentary procedure, cloture is a motion or process aimed at bringing debate to a quick end. It is also called closure or, informally, a guillotine. The cloture procedure originated in the French National Assembly, from which the name is taken. Clôture is French for "ending" or "conclusion"...

, 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
Voice vote
A voice vote is a voting method used by deliberative assemblies in which a vote is taken on a topic or motion by responding verbally....

; 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
Division (vote)
In parliamentary procedure, a division of the assembly is a voting method in which the members of the assembly take a rising vote or go to different parts of the chamber, literally dividing into groups indicating a vote in favour of or in opposition to a motion on the floor...

 follows.

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 powers

By 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
Leader of the House of Lords
The 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,...

 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
Attorney General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known simply as the Attorney General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. Along with the subordinate Solicitor General for England and Wales, the Attorney General serves as the chief legal adviser of the Crown and its government in...

 and the former Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

 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
Peter Truscott, Baron Truscott
Peter Derek Truscott, Baron Truscott is a British petroleum and mining consultant, independent member of the House of Lords and writer. He was a Labour Member of the European Parliament from 1994 to 1999 and was elevated to the peerage in 2004...

 and Lord Taylor of Blackburn
Thomas Taylor, Baron Taylor of Blackburn
Thomas Taylor, Baron Taylor of Blackburn is a former Labour member of the House of Lords. He is notable for being one of the first peers suspended from the House of Lords since the 17th century.-Biography:Thomas Taylor was born in 1926....

 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
Clerk of the Parliaments
The Clerk of the Parliaments is the chief clerk of the House of Lords in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The position has existed since at least 1315, and duties include preparing the minutes of Lords proceedings, advising on proper parliamentary procedure and pronouncing the Royal Assent...

 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 absence

In 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.

Committees

Unlike 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
Chairman of Committees
The Chairman of Committees is an officer of the House of Lords who presides over the House when it is in committee both in the Lords Chamber and in Grand Committee, which is when committee stage is taken away from the floor to free up debating time in the main Chamber...

.

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:
AffiliationLife peersHereditary peersLords spiritualTotal
  Labour
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...

 
238 4 242
  Conservative
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...

 
170 47 216
  Liberal Democrats
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...

 
88 4 92
  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...

 
4 - 4
  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...

 
4 - 4
  UKIP
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...

 
2 1
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...

 
3
  Plaid Cymru
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...

 
1
Dafydd Wigley
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...

 
- 1
  Crossbenchers 153 31 184
  Lords Spiritual
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...

 
24 24
  Other 19 1
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...

 
20
Total 677 88 24 789


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
Member of the European Parliament
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

.


The House of Lords Act 1999
House of Lords Act 1999
The House of Lords Act 1999 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that was given Royal Assent on 11 November 1999. The Act reformed the House of Lords, one of the chambers of Parliament. For centuries, the House of Lords had included several hundred members who inherited their seats;...

 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
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...

) 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
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...

.

15 hereditary peers are elected by the whole House, and the remaining hereditary peers are the two royal office-holders, the Earl Marshal
Earl Marshal
Earl Marshal is a hereditary royal officeholder and chivalric title under the sovereign of the United Kingdom used in England...

 and the Lord Great Chamberlain
Lord Great Chamberlain
The Lord Great Chamberlain of England is the sixth of the Great Officers of State, ranking beneath the Lord Privy Seal and above the Lord High Constable...

, 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 Strathclyde
    Thomas Galbraith, 2nd Baron Strathclyde
    Thomas 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 Lords
    Leader of the House of Lords
    The 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,...

     (Conservative
    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...

    ), Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
    Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
    The 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...

     in Cabinet
  • Lord McNally
    Thomas McNally, Baron McNally
    Tom 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 Democrats
    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...

    )

Ministers

  • Baroness Warsi, Cabinet Minister without Portfolio & Chairman of the Conservative Party
  • Lord Howell of Guildford
    David Howell, Baron Howell of Guildford
    David 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 Office
    Foreign and Commonwealth Office
    The 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 Skills
    Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
    The 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 Scotland
    Advocate General for Scotland
    Her 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 Johns
    Joyce Anelay, Baroness Anelay of St Johns
    Joyce 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 Arms
    Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms
    Her 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 Greetland
    David Shutt, Baron Shutt of Greetland
    David 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 Guard
    Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard
    The 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 Sassoon
    James Sassoon, Baron Sassoon
    James 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 Treasury
    Commercial Secretary to the Treasury
    The 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 Hever
    John Astor, 3rd Baron Astor of Hever
    John 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 Oareford
    Jonathan Hill, Baron Hill of Oareford
    Jonathan 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 Wilcox
    Judith Wilcox, Baroness Wilcox
    Judith 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 Howe
    Frederick Curzon, 7th Earl Howe
    Frederick 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 Health
    Department 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 Pensions
    Department for Work and Pensions
    The 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 Marland
    Jonathan Marland, Baron Marland
    Jonathan 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 Henley
    Oliver Eden, 8th Baron Henley
    Oliver 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

See also

  • Gunpowder Plot
    Gunpowder Plot
    The 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 Library
    House of Lords Library
    The 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:...

     Introduction ceremony
  • Parliamentary Archives
    Parliamentary Archives
    The 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...


External links

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