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Explain how the role and functions of the House of Lords aff

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Byroni Kleopa

on 26 April 2014

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Transcript of Explain how the role and functions of the House of Lords aff

Explain how the roles and functions of the House of Lords affect the relationship of the House with the House of Commons
What is the House of Lords?
The Second Chamber of Parliament, often referred to as the Upper Chamber
What is the purpose of the House of Lords?
The House of Lords has three main roles:
1. Making laws
2. In-depth consideration of Public Policy
3. Holding Government to account
Parliament Acts 1911, 1945
The House comprises of 3 types of peers, Life Peers, Hereditary Peers and Bishops, the House is unelected and thus does not have the power that the Commons has
Life Peers: a peer whose title cannot be inherited or passed on, it is issued to the particular peer until death through the Life Peerage Act 1957
Hereditary Peers: through the House of Lords Act 1999 hereditary peers were all removed bar 92 peers due to the ‘Weatherill Amendment’
Bishops: when they retire as bishops their membership of the House ceases and is passed on to the next most senior bishop
Making Laws
Considered by both Houses
First Reading, Second Reading, Committee Stage, Report Stage and Third Reading
Lords scrutinise the bills for improvements and amendments which regulates the Commons
In-depth consideration of Public Policy
Select committees formulated to review and scrutinise specific areas Europe, Science, Economics and the UK Constitution.
Use the Lords’ specific knowledge and expertise to analysis and issue possible improvements
No jurisdiction when it comes to Taxation and Macro-economic issues.
Holding Government to Account
"Accountability is a liability or obligation attaching to those invested within public powers or duties. Its primary ingredient is an obligation to explain and justify decision made or action taken." (Turpin & Tomkins)
Question time
Select Committees
Parliament Act 1911:
removed power to veto a Bill
could delay legislation for 2 years
reduced maximum life span of a Parliament from 7 years to 5 years
Section 1 - Money Bills must receive royal ascent no later than 1 month after being introduced into the Lords

Parliament Act 1949:
reduced the power to delay to 1 year
Parliament Acts 1911, 1945 Cont...
Bills not subject to Parliament Acts 1911, 1945:
Bills prolonging the length of a Parliament beyond 5 years
Private Bills
Bills sent o lords less than 1 month before the end of a session
Bills which start in the Lords
Bills passed by the Parliament Acts:
Government of Ireland Act 1914
Welsh Church Act 1914
Parliament Act 1949
War Crimes Act 1991

European Parliament Elections Act 1999
Sexual Offenses (Amendment) Act 2000
Hunting Act 2004
Parliament Acts 1911, 1945 Cont...
Restricted powers of scrutiny
Monolpolised the Commons power
Refused to use the expert knowledge of the Lords
"the House of Peers...did nothing in particular and did it very well" (W.S. Gilbert)
"the House of Lords is a fig leaf for what is effectively a unicameral system." (Lord Desai)
There are various methods of scrutinising the Commons work. Many of the methods involve debate and holding the Commons to account for the decisions. The most common way of scrutinising is through:
Select Committees
Question Time
First Reading - formal introduction
Second Reading - any member can speak
Committee Stage - detailed line-by-line analysis, no restriction on subjects to be discussed or time
Report Stage - further detailed examination, any Lord can vote
Third Reading - amendments can still be made
Select Committees
The Upper has a number of Committees dedicated to specialist subject areas in order to carry out efficient analysis of Bills using the knowledge and expertise of the Lords.
These include the:
European Union Committee
Science and Technology Committee
Communications Committee
Constitutional Committee
Economic Affairs Committee
Question Time
There are 4 main types of questions:
Starred Questions - taken as first business, 4 questions daily, purpose to obtain information
Unstarred Questions - questions which require debate
Questions of written answers - used to obtain factual information
Private Notice Questions - oral questions asked as a matter of urgency
What is the effect of Scrutiny as a whole?
What are the effect of the Parliament Acts?
The Lords have 3 main roles to fulfill when involved in their law-making function:
422 hours have been spent in examining
71 bills from 2012-2013
The Lords cast their votes on bills in the chamber by entering either the ‘content’ or ‘not content’ lobby.
Making Laws Cont...
to work with the Commons to shape laws
offer expert opinions
to have a neutral debate on issues that may have been influenced by party politics
Cooperative Partners:
to investigate issues through debates and Select Committees
to revise and suggest laws
The Salisbury Convention
The Salisbury-Addison convention ensures that Government Bills can pass through the Upper Chamber when the Government of the session is not the majority party in the Lords.
"The Salisbury doctrine as generally understood today, means that the House of Lords should not reject at second or third reading Government Bills brought from the House of Commons for which the Government has a mandate from the nation." (Lucinda Maer)
In practice, this means that when a Government makes a proposal in its manifesto, the Bill cannot be blocked when the Government is elected.
What is the effect of law-making?
Governmental, Academic and Judicial Opinions
"Many bills are only scrutinised in their entirety because the Lords do so." (David Lipsey)
"The House of Lords adds value to the political system. It compliments the House of Commons fulfilling tasks that MP's may not have the time or political will to carry out." (Phillip Norton)
"The Lords reports are far more informative and comprehensive than those produced by the Commons committee...this is because the Lords committee members are more objective and can often have close knowledge of the subject under scrutiny." (1982 'The Role of the Second Chambers')
Governmental, Academic and Judicial Opinions
"The Second Chamber's diminution of political influence...compounded by the arrogance with which party majorities in the House of Commons have regularly regarded decisions as of the Second Chamber which conflicted with its own." (Professor Blackburn)
"The legislative powers of the House of Lords will remain unaltered. It's functions will remain that of a revising chamber." (1997 Labour Manifesto)
"If the Conservative peers surprisingly wanted to delay a Bill for which the government of the day had so recently obtained a clear mandate, then the Parliament Acts could be used to secure its passage." (Donald Shell)
So what is our conclusion?
Full transcript