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The Constitution Unit

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The House of Lords

The House of Lords empty chamber

The House of Lords has been the subject of long-term research at the Constitution Unit. Unit Director Professor Meg Russell is considered a leading voice on the House of Lords, both in terms of how the chamber operates, and options for its reform. Major research outputs include her Oxford University Press book, ‘The Contemporary House of Lords: Westminster Bicameralism Revived’ and a Unit report ‘Enough is Enough: Regulating Appointments to the House of Lords’, which helped encourage action on tackling the size of the chamber.  Professor Russell has in the past been a specialist adviser to the House of Lords Appointments Commission, and the Lord Speaker's Committee on the Size of the House (of Lords). Today, she provides frequent commentary on the chamber’s work, and on live issues such as the Prime Minister's peerage appointments. Since 2005 the Unit has also published a record of all government defeats in the House of Lords.

 Key outputs

Government defeats in the House of Lords

Major Outputs:

Enough is Enough: Regulating Appointments to the House of Lords

This report, published in 2015, considered potential appointments formulae and their impact on the size and composition of the Lords. It called for immediate moves to regulate prime ministerial appointments, and was influential in shaping parliamentary debates.

The Contemporary House of Lords: Westminster Bicameralism Revived

This book, published in 2013, is the result of a long-term study of the Lords undertaken by Meg Russell. It is the most complete published work about the Lords, its history, membership, current role in the policy process, and options for reform.