Lord Speaker statement on new appointments
31 July 2020
Lord Fowler comments following the government's announcement of 36 new members of the House of Lords on Friday 31 July.
Lord Fowler, the Lord Speaker, said:
“This list of new Peers marks a lost opportunity to reduce numbers in the House of Lords. The result will be that the House will soon be nearly 830 strong - almost 200 greater than the House of Commons. That is a massive policy u-turn. It was only two years ago that the then Prime Minister, Mrs May, pledged herself to a policy of “restraint” in the number of new appointments. It was the first time that any Prime Minister had made such a pledge.
“This followed a report by a special Lord Speaker's committee chaired by Lord (Terry) Burns proposing that numbers should be reduced to 600. This was debated by the Lords itself with over 90 speakers, commanding overwhelming support. The big opportunity was for the present Government to take forward this movement for reform. I emphasise that this is not a matter of personalities. It is a question of numbers and the abandonment of an established policy to reduce the size of the House.
“It is also a vast pity that the list has been announced within the first few days of the summer recess when neither House is sitting, and the Government cannot be challenged in Parliament.”