Reforming the House of Lords

Reforming the House of Lords
It's time for an elected second chamber

Reforming the House of Lords

If you help decide how Britain is run, you should be elected by the British public. That’s democracy.

Whilst some members of the House of Lords work hard, the House of Lords as a whole costs far too much for an institution that fails to represent the British public.

The Cost of Cronyism

The House of Lords isn't just an affront to voters, it's an unacceptable burden on the public purse.

  • During the period spanning February 2014 to January 2015, £21m was spent on Lords allowances and expenses, with the average peer receiving £25,826. 
  • Appointing 100 more peers - a prospect very much on the table - would cost at least £2.6m.
  • In the 2010-2015 parliament, £360,000 was claimed by 62 Peers for years in which they did not vote once. 
  • In the last session of parliament alone, over £100,000 was claimed by Peers who did
  • not vote at all.
  • The net operating costs of the House of Lords in 2013-4 was £93.1m, approximately equivalent to £118k per peer.

Experts or Professional Politicians?

In the House of Lords you're more likely to have expertise in running a palace, than building one.

  • Twice as many peers were staff to the royal household than worked in manual or skilled labour.
  • In the current House of Lords, 27% of Peers have representational politics as their main profession prior to entering the Lords, the majority former MPs.
  • 7% percent of Peers are former political staff or held senior positions in political parties. 
  • Manual and skilled trades, policing and transport have less than 1% of the house each
  • A-political crossbench peers only vote 16% of the time, compared to 47% for political peers

Super Sized Second Chamber

Only China's rubber stamping legislature, the National People's Congress is larger.

  • With around 800 members, the House of Lords is the second largest chamber in the world
  • To accurately match the House of Commons vote share the chamber would have to increase to 1545 members.
  • To accurately match the House of Commons seat share the chamber would have to rise to 8663 members - a ludicrous proposition. 

Party over Principle? Independence in the Lords

The only legislature where losing an election helps you get a seat.

  • 71% of the House of Lords votes on party lines
  • 25% of Lords appointments since 1997 are former MPs who lost elections or resigned

Unrepresentative and out of Date

Second House or Retirement Home?

  • Professional experience amongst peers is concentrated in the field of representational politics.
  • Only 2 members are under 39 and 54% are aged 70 or over.
  • Only slightly over a quarter of peerages made between May 1997 and March 2015 were
    women.
  • Female representation in the Lords has only recently reached 24% (199) - five percentage points lower than the Commons. 
  • Seats are guaranteed for Bishops of the Church of England, but not for representatives of the churches of Wales, Scotland or any other faith leaders.

Our Reports

House of Lords Fact vs Fiction

Reforming the Lords

Direct Elections for a Revised Second Chamber

Our Briefings

July 2012 Second reading briefing on Lords Reform
April 2012 Lords Reform Briefing
Download Oct 2011 submission on the Draft Bill for House of Lords Reform

Progress on reforming the House.
An elected House of Lords is the answer
It's time we elected the House of Lords