Earlier today, the Prime Minister wrote to the Lord Speaker about the proposals contained in the Burns Committee report on reducing the size of the House of Lords.
Commenting, Lord Fowler, the Lord Speaker, said:
'I very much welcome the Prime Minister’s recognition of the careful and considered work done by Lord Burns and his Committee, and her recognition of the overwhelming support within the House for the report’s recommendations.
Her statement means that the plan to reduce numbers in the House of Lords is on course. The case for a reduction has now been accepted by all party leaders.
The crucial paragraph in her letter to me says:
'I would like to use this letter to make a statement of intent on further appointments over the remainder of this Parliament. I intend to continue with the restraint which I have exercised to date and, when making appointments, to allocate them fairly, bearing in mind the results of the last general election and the leadership shown by each party in terms of retirements. I will also operate on the basis that there is no automatic entitlement to a peerage for any holder of high office in public life.'
This is the first time such a statement of this kind has been made by any Prime Minister.
With this statement of intent, she has challenged the House and its members to deliver their part in reducing numbers. The ability to reduce the size of the House is now within our own control. I intend to work with the political leaders in the House to agree how best to take this forward.
I welcome the fact that the Prime Minister has responded so positively to the report’s recommendations and I look forward to making further progress on reducing the size of the House on the basis of the commitments made by the other political parties during the House’s debate on the report.'
Image: House of Lords 2018 / Photography by Roger Harris