Following the 2010 General Election the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats formed a coalition government. The coalition agreement stated that a committee would be formed to bring forward a draft motion on Lords reform by December, 2010. This motion wasn’t published until May, 2011. The bill which was introduced by the government on 27 June, 2012, provided for a second chamber which over a ten year transitional period would be transformed into a largely elected body. After much opposition in the House of Commons the bill was withdrawn without a second reading.
There are currently three bills concerning Lords reform progressing through Parliament:
- On 15 May, 2013, Baroness Hayman’s House of Lords Reform Bill received its first reading. Amongst other things, this bill would end by-elections to the hereditary element of the House of Lords as vacancies occur. The bill may be read here.
- A bill was introduced by Dan Byles, M.P., on 19 June, concerning retirement of peers and expulsion under certain circumstances. The bill will be read a second time on 18 October. It has not yet been printed.
- Christopher Chope, M.P., introduced a bill on 24 June, which, whilst not affecting the number of hereditary peers in the House of Lords, would institute a system of compulsory retirement for life peers, and give those who voluntarily retire the option of receiving hereditary peerages. It will be read a second time on 13 September. The bill may be read in full here.
The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee of the House of Commons recently conducted an inquiry on restructuring the House of Lords in a manner which will command a consensus, without the need for primary legislation. The committee took oral evidence between June and July, 2013, and is currently preparing its report. The transcripts of the oral evidence may be accessed here.