Video Transcript

This video consists of interviews with members of the House of Lords talking to camera, footage of the Lords Chamber meeting and members of the public being asked what they know about the House of Lords.

House of Lords: What's it all about

Transcript begins.

Lord Speaker: We have two Houses of Parliament: the House of Commons, and the House of Lords is the second chamber.

Member of the public: The two chambers of Parliament?

Member of the public: Well, the House of Commons is wholly elected;

Member of the public: And the House of Lords are appointed.

Member of the public: Is one them elected into, and one of it's in the family or something? I don't know.

Member of the public: Is one supposed to initiate policy, and the other's supposed to rubber-stamp it or object to it, as far as I know?

Member of the public: I thought it was the same thing.

Member of the public: The House of Commons is an elected body and the House of Lords isn't.

Member of the public: One is like a judiciary branch and one is like a legislative branch.

Lord Puttnam: The core function of the House of Lords is to scrutinise legislation as it comes through, to comment on it, criticise it where necessary, and from time-to-time to amend it.

Lord Adebowale: We can't have the final say - we don't have that power, only the elected chamber has that power - but we can revise law, and we can make law - we can suggest laws.

Baroness Williams of Crosby: Often what the House of Lords has to do is go through the absolute detail, little by little, of the bills that come up to it.

Baroness Massey of Darwen: Sometimes if a bill starts off in the House of Lords, like it has with the Children and Young People Bill, we try to make a good bill to go to the Commons for further revision.

Lord Wright of Richmond: Sometimes the House of Commons then send it back to us, not having accepted our amendments, and even, occasionally, we send it back to them again in a game that is known as 'ping-pong'. But I'm glad to say that doesn't happen very often!

Lord Fowler: The net result is that the acts that come out at the other end should be better as a result of that.

Member of the public: My impression of the House of Lords would be a big building where lots of men and women meet.

Member of the public: I know they're kind of there to stop the House of Commons doing what they want to do.

Member of the public: I haven't got a clue.

Member of the public: They review legislation.

Member of the public: A group of very knowledgeable people.

Member of the public: Well, they try to promote good things, and they try to change the world - the country - for the better.

Baroness Young of Old Scone: I think the great virtue of the House of Lords is the wide range of backgrounds that people come from.

Lord Desai: The House of Lords an amazing sort-of collection of independent experts, hack politicians, ex-Cabinet ministers, and bishops.

Baroness D'Souza: It has a very large amount of expertise in very many different fields, whether it be in science, or medicine, or in law, or the arts, or architecture, or prison, or child-studies, there are people who are at the absolute top of their profession.

Lord Speaker: Its membership tends to be part-time people who still have an interest in another field of activity.

Baroness Massey of Darwen: Outside the Chamber - as I said I chair the special health authority on drugs, which takes up quite a bit of time.

Lord Adebowale: I am currently Chair of the London Youth Crime Prevention Board, and I'm also Chair of the Stop and Search Advisory Community Panel. So there's a number of things I do, that perhaps I wouldn't do if I wasn't called 'Lord' Adebowale.

Lord Fowler: What do the House of Lords do for you, do for the public? I think it produces better legislation.

Lord Adebowale: It protects the public from laws that haven't been thought through sufficiently.

Lord Tyler: Our votes are absolutely critical. We defeat the government quite regularly - we make them think again.

Baroness Warsi: It's a check-and-balance; it's about ensuring that there are other people who are not just directly elected but who come to legislation with a sense of expertise, who can look at legislation and try and be a check-and-balance against where the government is going.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Helping people to know this is their House - it belongs to them, it's part of their heritage, and they need to come and see and enjoy what happens here.

Transcript ends.