The House of Lords Reform Bill completed its committee stage in the Lords on Friday 21 October. The Private Members’ Bill, introduced by Lord Steel of Aikwood, makes provisions for reform of the membership of the House of Lords.
Several votes took place during the course of debate. A number of amendments to the Bill were agreed to without voting.
The Bill now progresses to report stage – consider all amendments (proposals for change). A date for report stage is yet to be scheduled.
Proposals set out in the Bill include:
- all recommendations for life peerages would be made by a Statutory Appointments Commission
- existing hereditary peers would no longer be replaced when they die
- Members could apply to take permanent leave of absence, which would be the equivalent of retiring from the House of Lords
- Members who failed to attend the House of Lords would be viewed as having taken permanent leave of absence
- Members sentenced to more than a year in prison would no longer be members of the House of Lords.
The Bill received its second reading in the Lords on 3 December 2010. Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield, contemporary British historian, and Lord Lothian, a former MP (1974-2010) and Government minister, made their maiden speeches in the debate.
Members of the Lords who are not government ministers can introduce Private Members’ Bills. Like Public Bills their purpose is to change the law as it applies to the general population. Most Private Members’ Bills do not become Acts of Parliament; however, by creating publicity around an issue, some Private Members’ Bills can indirectly affect legislation.
Detailed line by line examination of the separate parts (clauses and schedules) of the Bill takes place during committee stage.
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