House of Lords Bill seeks to downsize membership

04 November 2016

PA

Attending: peers listen as Lord Fowler speaks during his first sitting as the new Lord Speaker of the House, in September

Attending: peers listen as Lord Fowler speaks during his first sitting as the new Lord Speaker of the House, in September

PROPOSALS to reduce the size of the House of Lords to make it comparable with the House of Commons were debated by peers last month, in the Second Reading of a Private Members’ Bill. The House of Lords Bill was introduced by Lord Elton, who is a licensed lay minister in the diocese of Oxford.

If passed, the Bill would require the House of Lords to hold a ballot at the start of each new Parliament to elect a number of peers equal to the number of MPs returned at the previous General Election. The Prime Minister would retain the right to appoint new peers, and so the number of members of the House of Lords would increase during a parliamentary session.

The Bill does not affect the 26 Church of England bishops and archbishops who are members of the House of Lords.

The Leader of the House of Lords, Lord Strathclyde, said that he was “not entirely convinced” that a reduction in the number of peers would affect the way Parliament was viewed by the public. “The reasons why Parliament is not held as well as it once was are many and varied.”

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