The Lord Speaker is a role elected internally by Members of the House of Lords. Politically impartial, responsibilities of the Lord Speaker include chairing the Lords debating chamber, offering advice on procedure, and acting as an ambassador for the work of the Lords both at home and abroad. The current Lord Speaker is Baroness D'Souza.
Responsibilities of the Lord Speaker
The main responsibilities of the Lord Speaker include:
- chairing daily business in the House of Lords debating chamber
- chairing House committee
- Offering advice on procedure (the formal and informal rules of the Lords' everyday activities)
- formal responsibility for security in the Lords area of the Parliamentary estate
- speaking for the House on ceremonial occasions
- acting as an ambassador for the work of the Lords both at home and abroad.
Election of the Lord Speaker
The House of Lords elected Baroness D’Souza as its second Lord Speaker on 18 July 2011. She succeeded Baroness Hayman who became the first elected Speaker of the House of Lords on 4 July 2006. Lord Speakers can sit for two terms only, which last a maximum of five years each. The Lord Speaker assumed some of the responsibilities previously held by the Lord Chancellor, but, unlike the Lord Chancellor, is independent of government in their appointment and role.
Lord Speaker and Speaker of the House of Commons compared
Although the Lord Speaker chairs the Lords debating chamber, they have less authority than their counterpart Speaker in the Commons. This is because the Lords regulate themselves and the order of business in the House.
Therefore, unlike the Speaker in the House of Commons, the Lord Speaker does not:
- call the House to order or rule on points of order
- call Members to speak
- select amendments.