House of Lords (Amendment) Bill: Third reading

01 March 2012

The renamed House of Lords (Amendment) Bill, as agreed during report stage by Lord Steel of Aikwood (Liberal Democrat), enters its third reading today (Thursday 1 March).

Amendments listed in the Marshalled List includes the removal of Clause four which if agreed will allow Members of the House on permanent leave of absence to vote in House of Commons elections or be elected into the House of Commons.

Lord Steel also suggests the inclusion of a new clause after Clause five which allows Members who have been expelled from the House, not necessarily from a conviction but a decision of the House, the opportunity to appeal.

House of Lords Reform: Key areas

  • All recommendations for life peerages would be made by a Statutory Appointments Commission.
  • Proposals for new peers could be made to the Commission.
  • All nominees would have to demonstrate conspicuous merit and a willingness and capacity to make a contribution to the work of the House of Lords.
  • In determining how many new peers (if any) to recommend each year, the Commission would take the following principles into account:
    • Not less than 20 per cent of the members of the House of Lords should be independent of any political party.
    • No one party, nor a coalition of parties forming a government, should have a majority of members in the House of Lords.
    • The government of the day (or the largest party in a coalition government) should be entitled to have a larger number of members than the official Opposition, but that majority should normally be no greater than 3 per cent of the total membership of the House of Lords.
    • The House of Lords should not have more members than the House of Commons.
  • Existing hereditary peers would no longer be replaced when they die.
  • Members could apply to take permanent leave of absence, which would be the equivalent of retiring from the House of Lords.
  • Members who did not attend the House of Lords during a parliamentary session would be deemed to have taken permanent leave of absence.
  • Any member found guilty of a serious criminal offence and sentenced to more than a year in prison would cease to be a member of the House of Lords.

Catch up on the House of Lords (Amendment) Bill

The private members' bill was brought to the House of Lords by Lord Steel of Aikwood.

Private Members' Bills

Members of the Lords who are not government ministers can introduce private members’ bills. Like public bills their purpose is to change the law as it applies to the general population. Most private members’ bills do not become law (Acts of Parliament). However, by creating publicity around an issue, some private members’ bills can indirectly affect legislation.

Third Reading

Third Reading is the last chance for Lords to clarify and make amendments to the bill. The bill is then sent over to the House of Commons for its first reading.

Joint Committee on Draft House of Lords Reform

Attending a debate

Find out more about watching House of Lords debates in Parliament.

Image: Parliament copyright

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