The Constitution Unit


Event: Five years as Lord Speaker: reflections on the Lords and its future. A conversation with Baroness D'Souza. 

4 August 2016


Baroness D'Souza is coming to the end of her five-year term as Lord Speaker, being only the second ever holder of this position. 

Chair: Professor Meg Russell

The position of Lord Speaker is very different to that of Speaker of the House of Commons, and much less well understood. In this event Baroness D'Souza reflected on her term of office in discussion with Meg Russell, outlining the Lord Speaker's role, the highs and lows of the last five years, her achievements and her hopes for the future - including the future of the Lord Speaker position, and more generally of the House of Lords. The discussion was informal and wide ranging, and was followed by questions from the audience.

About the speakers:

Baroness (Frances) D'Souza was elected as the second Lord Speaker in July 2011, taking office in September. She entered the House in 2004 as an independent Crossbencher, and was Convenor of the Crossbench Peers from 2007 to 2011. Baroness D'Souza has a special interest in human rights and development issues and has lived and worked in southern Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. She was director of an independent research group focusing on development and emergency aid. She studied Anthropology at UCL and for her doctorate at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford. She taught anthropology at both the LSE and Oxford Brookes University.

Meg Russell is Professor of British and Comparative Politics, and Director of the Constitution Unit. She has written extensively about the House of Lords, including in her most recent book The Contemporary House of Lords: Westminster Bicameralism Revived (Oxford University press, 2013). Details of her research on the Lords can be found here.

A link to the video of the event can be found here (poor sound quality).

An audio recording of the event is available here.

A summary of the event is available on our blog.