Lords debates size of the House

06 December 2016

Members of the Lords, including a former member of the Royal Commission on the Reform of the House of Lords and the convenor of the Campaign for an Effective Second Chamber, debated the size of the House and explored methods for reducing its numbers, in the House of Lords on Monday 5 December.

During debates, members are able to put their experience to good use, discussing current issues and drawing the government's attention to concerns.

The debate was proposed by Lord Cormack (Conservative), former shadow minister for constitutional affairs and chairman of the History of Parliament Trust.

Members taking part included:

  • Lord Butler of Brockwell (Crossbench), former head of HM Civil Service and former member of the Royal Commission on the Reform of the House of Lords
  • Lord Norton of Louth (Conservative), vice-president of the Political Studies Association and convenor of the Campaign for an Effective Second Chamber
  • Baroness Smith of Basildon (Labour), member of the House of Lords Commission and shadow leader of the House of Lords
  • Lord Tyler (Liberal Democrat), Lords Liberal Democrat spokesperson for constitutional and political reform and co-author of 'Reforming the House of Lords – Breaking the Deadlock' 

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Conservative), leader of the House of Lords, responded on behalf of the government.

Following the debate the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, said:

'The House of Lords today has made a unique statement, by members themselves agreeing unanimously that it should be smaller. This is a significant step forward and represents a substantial consensus. It shows that Members of the Lords want reform and see the present size of over 800 as an obstacle in the way of the effective running of the House.

'Now that the House has agreed that its size needs to be reduced, we must now work towards proposals on how this can be achieved.'

Further information

Image: House of Lords 2016 / Photography by Roger Harris

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