This House of Lords Library briefing provides background information in advance of the second reading of the House of Lords Act 1999 (Amendment) Bill in the House of Lords on Friday 9 September 2016.Jump to full report >>
The House of Lords Act 1999 (Amendment) Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill introduced by Lord Grocott (Labour). The Bill received its first reading on 24 May 2016, and is scheduled to have its second reading on 9 September 2016. The Bill seeks to amend the House of Lords Act 1999 to remove the system of by-elections currently used to fill vacancies caused by the death, resignation or expulsion of individuals who are members of the House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage.
The House of Lords Act 1999 removed the right of individuals to be Members of the House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage, with some exceptions, which are outlined in section 2 of the Act. Section 2 states that 90 hereditary Peers, the holder of the office of Earl Marshal and the holder of the office of Lord Great Chamberlain are excepted from the exclusion provided for in section 1. In addition, section 2 provides for the Standing Orders of the House to “make provision for filling vacancies among the people excepted from section 1”; vacancies in the 90 excepted hereditary Peers are caused by death, resignation or expulsion and in these instances the Standing Orders of the House of Lords provide for by-elections. The office of Lord Great Chamberlain is a hereditary one, vested jointly in the Cholmondeley, Ancaster and Carrington families, rotating between them in successive reigns and therefore not subject to by-elections. The office of Earl Marshal is also hereditary, and has been held by the Duke of Norfolk since 1677, the post is not subject to by-elections. Section 3 of the House of Lords Act 1999 removes disqualifications in relation to the House of Commons—voting in elections to the House of Commons and being a Member of the House of Commons—from holders of hereditary peerages; this section does not apply to excepted hereditary Peers and these restrictions therefore continue to apply to them.
The House of Lords Act 1999 (Amendment) Bill would amend the House of Lords Act 1999 to the effect that:
Lords In Focus LIF-2016-0043
Author: Heather Evennett
Topic: House of Lords
The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.