Reform of the House of Lords
: an analysis of, and the lessons to be learned from, a decade of attempts at reform

  • Mark Ryan

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The reform of the House of Lords has bedevilled parliamentarians ever since the Preamble to the Parliament Act of 1911 stated that it was effectively a temporary measure pending the introduction of elected members. This Portfolio of Evidence examines the last decade or so of attempts at reform of the House of Lords and the lessons to be learned thereof. It traces the chronology from the Labour Government’s 2007 White Paper and somewhat inconclusive parliamentary votes which followed, together with its 2008 White Paper based squarely on the Commons voting preferences for either a wholly or largely elected House. Following the 2010 General Election, the Coalition Government took on the mantle of implementing reform with a White Paper and Draft Bill which was subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee. The fully fledged Bill which followed was formally abandoned shortly afterwards in the absence of any agreed House of Commons Programme Motion. Fundamental reform has been historically a very protracted business and it is clearly in abeyance for the immediate and foreseeable future. This political impasse is largely due to a lack of parliamentary consensus on how to complete reform, as demonstrated by the somewhat contradictory votes of 2007. One unique solution proffered by the author in one of his articles is that of holding a referendum to provide a definitive public position on this controversial and divisive issue. More modest small-scale reforms have, however, been achieved and the Critical Overview Document examines the recent history of these developments. It also considers in a wider sense the process of constitutional legislative reform partly through the prism of legislation connected to the House of Lords.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University

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