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New committee on reducing the size of the House of Lords launches inquiry

The new Lord Speaker's committee on the size of the House today launches its inquiry into how the size of the House of Lords might be reduced. The committee was established in the wake of the House agreeing unanimously on 5 December 2016 "that this House believes that its size should be reduced, and methods should be explored by which this could be achieved".

The committee's consultation paper seeks suggestions from the public, members of the House and other interested parties on how to reduce the number of members and then maintain the members at that lower level for as long as the House is made up of appointed members.

The committee intends to consider all practical and politically viable options with a view to offering the Lord Speaker advice on what might command broad consensus across the House and beyond. The committee will not be considering the possibility of moving to an elected membership, nor will it consider changes to the powers of the House or the nature of its membership.

The Committee are inviting written submissions to be received by 20 February 2017. Evidence can be submitted online here.
The committee intends to report by early summer.

Commenting on the launch of the inquiry, the committee chairman Lord Burns said:

"The Lords plays an essential role in improving bills and holding the Government to account. The House benefits from a diverse and expert membership who add real value to the work of Parliament.

"However, the House has unanimously agreed that its size should be reduced, and I look forward to chairing this committee which aims to bring forward proposals that can attract widespread support and allow us to deal with the issue.

"We encourage anybody who has ideas for the best way forward to get in touch with us and share their thoughts. We want to move quickly on this and so ask that all submissions reach us by 20 February."

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