The UK’s House Of Lords

The Upper House in the UK Parliament is the House of Lords, and as would be expected, is comprised of Lords.

Peerages were in the past hereditary, being passed from father to son or daughter, or mother to son or daughter. It has some strange terms to get used to such as life peers and Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal.

The system went into reform in 1999 through the House Of Lords Act when the monarchy and the government, and indeed the House of Lords itself realised that the old aristocratic ways were no longer relevant to modern UK society.

The House of Lords has two types of members – Lords Temporal and Lords Spiritual. Lords Temporal are members who are appointed with a Life Peerage, but without the right to hereditary title, meaning that they cannot pass it on to their heirs, nor can they simply be brought into the House.

In its current state, the House of Lords also sits 92 hereditary peers who are elected from holders of titles. There are also 26 Lords Spiritual and they represent the Church of England. The Five most senior represent the oldest seats of religious power in the Unite Kingdom and include Cantebury, London, Winchester and the Northern Cities of York and Durham.

The real function of the House of Lords is to review laws and legislation passed by the lower house of parliament – The House of Commons. The Lords can propose amendments to legislation and can even veto it, however this right is not available to them when a money bill or major electoral pledge is being proposed.

It is a strange system and when amendments are proposed, the government of the day will often accept it because if not, it will have to wait for an endless delay as the motions are debated one by one. In the UK it is also considered taboo to clash with the House of Lords which can often result in negative press and publicity.