Conservative governments and Lords reform

Conservative governments and Lords reform
  • Title: Margaret Thatcher, Katharine Elliot and other female Conservative MPs and peers

  • Catalogue number : Palace of Westminster WOA 6773. Courtesy of Baroness Trumpington.

  • Description :

    During the 1970s support grew within the Labour Party for total abolition of the Lords. In 1978 it was adopted as official Party policy.  

    Senior Conservatives felt differently, believing that its powers should be extended as part of wide-ranging constitutional change designed to check the advancing power of the executive.  

    However, the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major (1979-97) left the issue untouched.

    The photograph above is of a dinner in the House of Lords in about 1984 to mark the achievement of Margaret Thatcher as the first woman Prime Minister. Lady Thatcher is pictured alongside Baroness Elliot of Harwood, one of the first four women peers created in 1958, who initiated the dinner.

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