Web links: Chapter 23
Information about the Lords
The UK Parliament’s website includes a brief profile web page for each Peer, which can be accessed here. These profiles include considerable detail, namely in terms of each Lord’s areas of interest and external professional lives. See for instance the profile for Conservative Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, which indicates that he has a banking background and, among other areas, has a policy interest on the Commonwealth (see the Member’s focus tab); or Labour Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, who is the Chair of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and has policy interests in the areas of crime, civil law, justice and rights, as well as education.
Overview of the size and composition of the House of Lords
The House of Lords library regularly updates its briefings on the House’s composition. This briefing gives an overview of the House’s size and membership. Although not elected, party is a particularly important element to consider when discussing the representation of the House of Lords, as shown by this briefing. This briefing gives a statistical profile of the Lords’ membership and this one outlines its breakdown by religion, ethnicity and disability.
Reform of the House of Lords
One of the key elements of the debates on the reform of the House of Lords has been its representative element; how it is appointed, its size and its composition. Many of the reports and debates on Lords’ reform are therefore about its representation also. The last major reform took place in 1999 – you can read the House of Lords Act 1999 here. These two library briefings analyse the effects of stage one of this reform and stage two. However, in reality the Lords has undergone further reform since then, as well as significant reform before 1999. This chronology provides a list of key Lords’ reforms since the 18th century. This same page gives access to more detailed documentation about the reform of the Lords. In 2017 the Lord Speaker commissioned a report specifically on the size of the House, known as the Burns report.
This lecture by David Beamish, former Clerk of the Parliaments, also covers aspects of the reform of the House of Lords.