Achieving change in the Lords

_39082269_lordsstill_300The final legislative business of the House of Lords last Thursday, prior to prorogation, was Royal Assent to several Bills.  These included what is now the House of Lords (Expulsion and Suspension) Act.  This gives the House the power to expel members and also to extend the power of the House to suspend members.  It constitutes the second success of those of us who have been pressing for some years to achieve practical reform of the House.  The first was enactment last year of the House of Lords Reform Act.  This provides for the expulsion of members convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of twelve months or more, thus bringing us into line with the House of Commons.  It also provides that peers who fail to attend for a whole session (lasting six months or more) cease to be members.  This will take effect in the new Parliament.  The other principal provision is to enable peers to retire from the House.  This has already started to be employed.  Peers who give notice of their intention to retire are able to give valedictory speeches.  Lord Jenkin of Roding made use of this facility, making a much admired speech, achieving an unprecedented round of applause.  In addition to those who have already retired, such as Lords Grenfell and Cobbold, the session ended with eleven peers listed as having given notice of their intention to retire.  They include Lord Joffe (who pioneered the Assisted Dying Bill), Lord Phillips of Sudbury, and Lord Eden of Winton.  More peers are expected to be created at the start of the new Parliament, adding to what is already a very large House.  It is important to recognise that there is at least some movement in the other direction.

About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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6 Responses to Achieving change in the Lords

  1. Jonathan says:

    Interesting to see that Lord Phillips of Sudbury is to retire (one or two “l”s? Perhaps include three to be on the safe side!) He hit the headlines in 2006, saying that he wanted to resign, but that a new Lib Dem should be appointed in his place. Instead, he took leave of absence, but was back contributing to the House a few years later. Retirement won’t guarantee a Lib Dem replacement, nor will it make him plain old Mr Phillips again!

    • Lord Norton says:

      Jonathan: I have overcome my excitement and reduced it to two ‘l’s. He voluntarily retired and held a grand retirement party, but clearly felt he could not stay away and came back. Now he has retired again, but this time it is final. He will be missed.

  2. maude elwes says:

    My first thoughts on reading that ‘criminals’ in the Lords will now be routinely ousted is, of course, no one from the Lords will be given a sentence of a year, no matter what they do. How many of the MP’s who fiddled their expenses have been considered unfit to be offered up as candidates for further terms in opffice? What an insult to shove their ugly faces at us for re-election. Take fat Nadhim Zahawi, floated once again for the so called ‘safe seat’ in Warwickshire after making sure the tax payer saw to it his horses stayed warm whilst the disabled froze. That move was a sign of hatred for the loyal.

    Just the as all the alleged child sexual predators never get outed or threatened with exposure, until, like Saville, they are dead.

    So much for reform!

  3. NNJ_Palo says:

    Could I find anywhere a list of all peers, who have given a retirement notice, but haven’t actually retired yet?

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