House of Lords Library

Lord Speaker: Election 2016

Published Monday, April 25, 2016

The Lord Speaker is elected by Members of the House of Lords every five years. This House of Lords Library briefing provides an overview of the process for electing a Lord Speaker. It includes information on standing for election, voting and the triggers for an election. The primary role of the Lord Speaker is to preside over proceedings in the Chamber, including committees of the whole House. Details about the office of the Lord Speaker itself, as well as background to how the office came into being, are available in Lords Library briefing Principal Office Holders in the House of Lords (19 March 2015).

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The last Lord Speaker election took place on 13 July 2011.  On 18 July 2011, the Clerk of the Parliaments announced that Baroness D’Souza had been elected.  Lady D’Souza took her office as Lord Speaker on 1 September 2011.  A Lord Speaker may serve for a maximum of two terms.  On 11 February 2016, Lady D’Souza announced that she would not put her name forward as a candidate in the 2016 speakership election.  She will step down from office on completing her first five year term, on 1 September 2016. 

According to the Standing Orders, in the year that an election of the Lord Speaker is due to take place, the election must be held before 15 July.  This is to allow enough time for the election to be conducted and the result to be announced before the House rises for the summer recess.  Specific arrangements for the 2016 election process will be set out in a notice for Members issued by the Clerk of the Parliaments in due course.

To date, there have been two speakership elections. The first election was held on 28 June 2006 following a resolution of the House on 12 July 2005 that it should elect its own presiding officer.  The 2006 election resulted in Baroness Hayman becoming the first Lord Speaker, as announced on 4 July 2006.  On 9 May 2011, Baroness Hayman announced her intention not to seek re-election.  The second election resulted in Baroness D’Souza being elected as Lord Speaker.


Lords In Focus LIF-2016-0026

Author: Mary Santo

Topics: Electoral systems, House of Lords, Lord Speaker, Members of the Lords, Parliamentary procedure

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House of Lords Library

The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.