White Paper on House of Lords Reform published

17 May 2011

Members of the Lords responded to the Government statement on proposals for Lords reform, which was repeated in the House of Lords on Tuesday 17 May

Lord Strathclyde, the Leader of the House of Lords, repeated the statement and Members of the Lords responded and questioned the Leader on its contents. The Government propose that the options be considered by a Joint Committee, composed of 13 Members of the Lords and 13 MPs, before the legislation is introduced.

Proposals for reform

The House of Lords Reform draft Bill and White Paper set out options for a wholly or mainly elected House of Lords. Key proposals include:

  • a reformed House with 300 members, each eligible for a single term of three Parliaments  
  • elections using the single transferable vote (STV), electing a third of members each time with elections normally taking place at the same time as General Elections  
  • multi-member electoral districts, to be drawn up independently based on national and county boundaries  
  • a continuation of the presence of Bishops of the Church of England in the House of Lords, reducing their number from 26 to 12  
  • a transition to the new membership staggered over the course of three electoral cycles.

The first elections would take place in 2015.

Further information

Proposals for House of Lords reform have centred on the membership of the House and its powers. The following Lords Library Notes set out the main developments: 

The House of Lords is the second chamber of the UK Parliament. Independent from the House of Commons, its Members play a vital role: checking legislation, holding the government to account, and providing a forum for debate and inquiry.

The majority of Members of the Lords are life peers appointed for their expertise gained from a wide range of backgrounds inside and outside politics.

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