Skip to main content

How do you become a Member of the House of Lords?

Two events have changed the way Members of the House of Lords are appointed: the 1999 House of Lords Act, which ended hereditary Peers' right to pass membership down through family, and the introduction of the House of Lords Appointments Commission. There are now a number of routes to becoming a Member of the House of Lords.

House of Lords Appointments Commission

Set up in May 2000, this independent, public body recommends individuals for appointment as non-party-political life peers and vets nominations for life peers to ensure the highest standards of propriety.

Dissolution Honours

Takes place at the end of a Parliament, when peerages can be given to MPs - from all parties - who are leaving the House of Commons.

Resignation Honours

Resigning Prime Ministers can recommend peerages for fellow politicians, political advisors or others who have supported them.

Political lists/'working Peers'

Lords appointed to boost the strengths of the three main parties. Regular attendance in the House is expected, usually on the frontbench as a spokesman or whip. The media has dubbed these Members 'working Peers'.

Ad hoc announcements

Used to announce someone appointed as a Minister who is not already a Lord.

Archbishops and bishops

The number of bishops in the House has been limited to 26 since the mid-nineteenth century. If a vacancy comes up the most senior serving bishop is appointed. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York usually get life peerages on retirement.


Traditionally, peerages are awarded to former Speakers of the House of Commons.

Discover more

Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal: Members of the House of Lords are either Lords Spiritual or Lords Temporal. The Lords Spiritual are the sitting senior bishops from the Church of England, the remaining Lords are known as the Lords Temporal.

Related internet links

Parliament is not responsible for the content of external websites.

House of Lords Act 1999

This Act cut the number of hereditary peers to 92, which - except for two royal appointments - were elected from within the House.