13 January 2022 - A distinguished panel discusses the difficulties of Lords reform and whether new approaches are needed.
There are regular calls for reform of the House of Lords. The chamber is widely seen as too large, with unregulated prime ministerial appointments, and has recently been subject to renewed allegations of 'cash for peerages'. The Lord Speaker established a committee to make recommendations on controlling the chamber's size, but its recommendations have been flouted by the current Prime Minister. Boris Johnson is also the first Prime Minister to have overruled recommendations by the House of Lords Appointments Commission about the propriety of his nominees. Meanwhile, bills to end the elections which maintain 92 hereditary peers in the chamber have been repeatedly blocked. So what can be done about the House of Lords? This distinguished panel will consider the difficulties of achieving even small, incremental reforms, and whether new approaches are needed.
Baroness (Angela) Smith of Basildon, Labour's Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
Lord (Michael) Jay of Ewelme, Crossbench peer and former Chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission
Sir Bernard Jenkin MP, Conservative chair of the House of Commons Liaison Committee and former chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC)
Chair: Professor Meg Russell, Director of the Constitution Unit.
• Constitution Unit research on the House of Lords
• Unit blogpost by Meg Russell on Boris Johnson's appointment of peers
• Unit blogpost by Lord (Terry) Burns on the size of the House of Lords
• Report from the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the reform of the Lords
• Sunday Times story of November 2021 alleging 'cash for peerages'