House of Lords

From iWiki

The House of Lords is the upper chamber of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is one of the two houses of the UK Parliament, alongside the House of Commons. The House of Lords plays a crucial role in the legislative process, providing expertise, independent judgment, and a revising function. This wiki page provides an overview of the House of Lords, including its composition, functions, history, and key features.


The House of Lords is made up of appointed members, known as peers. There are three main types of peers:

  1. Life Peers: Life peers are appointed by the monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister or the House of Lords Appointments Commission. They are appointed for their expertise in specific fields or for their contribution to society. Life peers hold their titles for life, and their membership is not hereditary.
  2. Hereditary Peers: Hereditary peers inherit their titles and membership in the House of Lords through their family lineage. However, following the House of Lords Act 1999, the number of hereditary peers who can sit in the House of Lords is limited to 92. These 92 hereditary peers are elected by their fellow hereditary peers.
  3. Bishops: The House of Lords includes 26 bishops from the Church of England, known as the Lords Spiritual. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, as well as the Bishops of London, Durham, and Winchester, automatically have seats in the House of Lords. The remaining bishops take turns attending parliamentary sessions based on a rota system.

Functions and Powers

  1. Legislation: The House of Lords shares the responsibility of passing laws and legislation with the House of Commons. It examines and scrutinizes bills that have been introduced in the House of Commons, offering expertise, suggesting amendments, and making revisions. The House of Lords can propose amendments to bills, but the final decision rests with the House of Commons.
  2. Revision and Scrutiny: The House of Lords plays a vital role in reviewing and revising legislation. It provides a platform for detailed examination and debate on the content and implications of bills. The expertise and independent judgment of members from various fields contribute to the refinement of legislation.
  3. Deliberation and Debate: The House of Lords serves as a forum for informed and reasoned debates on a wide range of issues. Peers bring their expertise, experience, and diverse perspectives to discussions, enriching the quality of parliamentary debates.
  4. Challenging the Government: Members of the House of Lords can challenge government policies, question ministers, and hold the government accountable for its actions. While the House of Lords cannot veto legislation passed by the House of Commons, it can propose amendments and offer alternative perspectives.


The House of Lords traces its origins back to the medieval period when it served as a council of advisors to the monarch. Over time, the composition and powers of the House of Lords evolved, with the peerage system becoming more structured. The House of Lords Act 1999 significantly reduced the number of hereditary peers and introduced a more balanced and diverse composition.

Key Features

  1. Debates and Speeches: The House of Lords is known for its articulate and knowledgeable debates. Peers contribute to discussions through speeches, raising concerns, proposing amendments, and providing expert insights.
  2. Crossbenchers: The House of Lords includes a significant number of crossbenchers who are not affiliated with any political party. They bring independent perspectives and expertise to the legislative process.
  3. Committees: The House of Lords has various committees that focus on specific areas of policy and legislation. These committees conduct inquiries, scrutinize government actions, and produce reports.