House of Lords chamber

  • Lords Central

    It's where you'll find Lords at work. But what happens on the red benches? This is the story of Parliament's House of Lords chamber.

  • Found in Westminster

    The House of Lords is a debating chamber in the Palace of Westminster in London.

  • A peer? What's a peer?

    Most of the men and women who belong to the House of Lords are known as 'peers'. For the most part, the prime minister decides who gets to become a peer. He or she will consider recommendations from other political parties and an independent appointments commission.

  • Lords come from all kinds of backgrounds

    Lords have often led very distinguished lives. They come from a variety of backgrounds, including politics, education, sport, science, religion and the arts.

  • Scene of the State Opening

    To open each session of Parliament the Queen gives a speech from the throne in the Lords chamber. The Queen's Speech is an important one. It's written by the prime minister and outlines the government's plans to introduce new laws to Parliament.

  • The debating chamber

    Normally, the House of Lords is a place for debate. Members stand up one at a time and say what they think about the topic or law being discussed.

  • Is that comfy?

    The Lord Speaker watches over debates from the woolsack. This big square red cushion is stuffed with wool, a tradition dating back to the reign of Edward III. The woolsack symbolised the country's wealth, as the wool trade was an important part of the economy.

  • What do Lords debate?

    Members of the House of Lords often debate the pros and cons of new laws proposed by the government. Government ministers stand up at the despatch box and present the government's case as to why the new law would be a good idea.

  • Questioning the government

    The chamber is also a place for challenging and checking the work of government ministers. Peers who aren't members of the government can ask ministers questions to make sure they are doing a good job.

  • How laws are made

    All laws passed by Parliament must be debated and approved by both the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Sometimes a new law will start in the Commons and then get passed to the Lords. Sometimes it works the other way round.

  • The 'revising chamber'

    MPs in the Commons have more say than Lords when it comes to which laws get passed by Parliament. But the Lords chamber is often seen as a place where laws are refined because its members suggest a lot of changes and improvements.

The red revising chamber

Members of the House of Lords gather on the red benches of what is the second busiest parliamentary chamber in the world, next to the House of Commons.

Find out what happens here. This is the story of the House of Lords chamber.

 

Related links
 

Who's who in the Lords?
Your guide to the men and women in Parliament's House of Lords.

Photo story: State Opening

See what happens when all three parts of the UK Parliament get together.

Parliament's art collection
Find more paintings and artworks like those from this photo story.