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House of Lords
The Second Chamber of Parliament
House of Lords

The House of Lords is the upper house of the UK Parliament. It is independent from the House of Commons (the lower house) and plays a significant role in proposing amendments to new legislation and challenging the actions of the government,


Membership of the House of Lords is not democratically elected but attained by inheritance (by appointment or through positions within the Church of England (26 senior bishops have the right to sit in the House of Lords). The majority of members are life peers who are appointed by the Monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Lords Reform remains unfinished business. In 1911 Parliament committed itself to replacing the House with a "a Second Chamber constituted on a popular instead of hereditary basis". A century on, and we’re still waiting.

What's the problem?

We believe that there is no place in a modern democratic system for an unelected second chamber. Members of the current House of Lords have real power, over policies and legislation, but they are not elected by the people who have to live by those laws.

We welcome the pledge from the coalition government to introduce a proportional system for electing a reformed upper house but already the anti-reform forces are mobilising so we will be campaigning to ensure that this important chance is not missed.

What now?

Find out more about our campaign to reform the House of Lords.

Recent News
30th January 2015
This is a guest post by Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Simon Thomas, discussing his recent speech on young people and democracy for ERS Cymru. The views, opinions and positions expressed within are those of the author alone and do not represent those of the Electoral Reform Society.   I was 15 when the first referendum on […]
26th January 2015
Much excitement in the European press today as Greece’s left-wing, Eurosceptic and anti-austerity Syriza has come two seats short of an absolute majority in the Greek parliamentary election, allowing them to form a coalition with the right-wing, Eurosceptic Independent Greeks. Yet Syriza won only 36.3% of the vote, giving them 49.7% of the seats. And […]
22nd January 2015
Today’s publication of draft legislation to devolve powers to Scotland makes the case for a UK-wide, citizen-led Constitutional Convention ever more pressing.   All the parties vowed to devolve more powers to Scotland, and no one is suggesting this should be delayed. But ultimately, today’s announcement raises more questions than it answers. These new powers […]