House of Lords reform – time for evolution rather than revolution? – Halsbury’s Law Exchange

Posted October 9th, 2013 in bills, news, parliament, peerages & dignities, statistics by sally

“When the House of Lords returns from recess in October, they will begin to welcome the 30 new peers announced at the beginning of August, including such diverse figures as paralympian Chris Holmes, racism campaigner Doreen Lawrence and Ministry of Sound co-founder James Palumbo. These 30 new peers (14 Conservative, ten Liberal Democrats, five Labour and one Green) will see the Conservatives again become the biggest bloc (with 222 peers, one ahead of Labour) and take the number of currently eligible sitting peers to 783. While such a size led to many comments about the ballooning size of the House (such as ‘New faces push the supersized House of Lords towards 1,000’ The Times August 2, 2013), this figure – which excludes those on leave of absence and those ineligible due to offices held – is actually lower than the figures as at March 2011 and March 2012. However, the annual reports of the House do show average attendance has increased by over a third in the last decade (from the mid-300s to the high 400s) and reflecting changing party balance in the House of Commons through creations is undoubtedly set to increase the size of the House of Lords (particularly if the parties fortunes ebb and flow; on this point see, eg, Michael White (Guardian, 17/5/2010) and the Electoral Reform Society 2013 report ‘The Super-Sized Second Chamber’). Thus among the Bills set to be scrutinised in the remainder of this session are no fewer than three House of Lords Reform Private Members’ Bills (PMBs) which seek to restrict the size of the House, Nick Clegg’s revolutionary – and much criticised – reform having been abandoned last year (at least until the next election).”

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Halsbury’s Law Exchange, 8th October 2013