The House Of Lords Essay

The House Of Lords Essay

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The House of Lords has long been seen as a curiosity. As British democracy advanced, the second chamber was slow to adapt and remains alongside the Canadian Senate, one of only two unelected second chambers in the major democracies. Predominantly, due to its curious composition, the Lords in the twentieth century were generally apprehensive about using its formal powers. British politics scholars described it as having ‘a little public profile but no actual power’, while comparativists concluded that Britain had, ‘extremely feeble bicameralism [which]… shades into unicameralism’. The purpose of this essay is to explore the current composition of the Lords, and assessing the future of the HoL through the many propositions, which will be my main focus. The final part examines the arguments; whether the ongoing debate about the transformation of the Upper House is meaningless and counterproductive, and reaches an ultimate conclusion.

The HoL constitutes the upper chamber of the bicameral legislature in UK, which can be seen as an essential part of the UK constitution as it completes both the judicial and legislative functions. Appellate Act enabled the creation of Law Lords as well as creating the judicial functions of the House of Lords in its modern form. While the function of a second chamber is recognised as beneficial as it ensures checks and balances on the Commons, the composition of its members reflects a society long past, a reminder of a time when equality was not a social aspiration.

Within centuries, the Lord’s competences regarding legislative power, as well as the number of hereditary members sitting in the House, have been considerably limited. The Parliament Act, for instance, allowed Money Bills passed by the Co...


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...position and method of selection of members is needed. Reform must not sacrifice the Lords’ ability to fulfil its vital role in Parliament in pursuit of total democratisation. Instead, it should seek to enhance the representative credentials of the Upper House through a more sensible and relevant system of appointing Lords.
As emphasised by Barber, an appointed chamber gives a chance to ensure that independent expertise is present in the system and also, that groups which may not be represented in the Commons are given a voice. Therefore, reform of the House of Lords would strengthen the legitimacy of the House and therefore improve its functions. Finally, by creating a worthy opposition to the HoC all issues would be debated and decided upon more fairly, and government would be more closely monitored, therefore upholding the democratic nature of our constitution.

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