The Lord Speaker, Baroness D’Souza, gave a lecture at University College London on ‘The role of the House of Lords in the parliamentary process’ yesterday evening (6 December 2012).
Speaking about public perceptions of the House of Lords the Lord Speaker said there should be ‘a culture of refinement and improvement based on the recognition that any parliamentary chamber – but perhaps especially an unelected one – must earn its keep and prove its usefulness.’
The Lord Speaker posed a number of questions for the future of the House of Lords, including:
- Is a House of 760 members too large?
- Should members be appointed for life or for a fixed term of years?
- Should there be an effective retirement mechanism?
- What should the House’s powers be in relation to members convicted of criminal offences?
In the absence of proposals to elect the House of Lords, the Lord Speaker said: ‘we should work to refine and improve what we have achieved over the last 100 years to ensure that the House continues to play an effective and valuable role within the parliamentary system.’