EXCL: Peers who 'barely attend' House of Lords could be expelled

Posted On: 
29th September 2016

Peers could be expelled from the House of Lords if they rarely turn up at Westminster, PoliticsHome can reveal.

The Campaign for an Effective Second Chamber is working on plans to shrink the House of Lords
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Conservative peer Lord Cormack said colleagues who put in less than 25% attendance could lose their right to sit in the upper chamber.

The former Tory MP said the move was part of plans he is spearheading to make sure there are no longer more peers than MPs.

Plan to slash number of peers in House of Lords by a quarter

Lord Fowler: Time to axe more than 200 peers

Lord Cormack: Here's how we reduce the size of the House of Lords

The Lords is the second largest parliamentary chamber in the world - after the Chinese National People’s Congress - boasting a total of 810 members.

In an article for The House magazine, Lord Cormack, who co-founded the Campaign for an Effective Second Chamber (CESC), outlined one way numbers could be reduced.

“We would certainly have to exclude those who barely attend. No-one can be an effective member of any institution without putting in at least a 25% attendance,” he argued.

Forty-nine peers claimed the £300 allowance for attending parliament in 2015 despite never contributing to a debate in the House of Lords, it was revealed in January.

Analysis from the Independent newspaper found a total of 117 peers did not speak in the main chamber – although some may have done other work, such as on committees.

Under other CESC plans the strength of each party will be reviewed after every election, while new peers will have to wait for vacancies before they can take their seats.

The suggested changes coincide with a constituency boundary review, which seeks to reduce the number of MPs in the Commons from 650 to 600.

Tory peer Lord Norton, who set up the CESC with Lord Cormack, this week told The Sun: “We are conscious that we must reduce numbers.

“We look bloated to the public, and we will soon also be unable to fulfil our functions with the resources we have.

“Once we get general agreement that the house is too large, we will then move on to implementing how to reduce it.

“We could initiate that with a private members bill in the Lords once we know the government is agreed with our formula.”

Lord Fowler, the new Speaker in the Lords, recently told The House magazine: “I don’t think that we can justify a situation where you have over 800 peers at the same time as you’re bringing down the Commons to 600 MPs”.