House of Lords Reform (Feb 2020)

The House of Lords has an important role in scrutinising and improving draft legislation. The Government is committed to ensuring that the House of Lords continues to fulfil its constitutional role as a revising and scrutinising chamber which respects the primacy of the House of Commons.

As a revising chamber, made up of peers with a wide variety of experience and expertise, the House of Lords plays a key role in our Parliamentary democracy. Through the appointment of peers, our political system has benefited from the wisdom of a great many figures, who have been able to scrutinise and improve legislation, to the nation’s significant benefit.

While comprehensive reform of the House of Lords is not currently a priority, thanks to Conservative reforms to allow the retirement of peers (and expulsion of those whose conduct is poor), the House of Lords membership has decreased since June 2017, and retirement is becoming part of the culture of the House. The Government is setting up the Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission to consider the relationship between Government, Parliament and the courts and to explore proposals to restore trust in our institutions and in how our democracy operates. As part of this it will look at the House of Lords, among other things.

I believe this approach strikes the right balance between ensuring our parliamentary democracy is representative and best value for the country, as well as a system which welcomes the expertise and wisdom of peers from all areas of public life.