Because it is not elected, it does not have the same powers as the Commons, but it retains the right to revise and scrutinise the Government's actions and legislation. Its independent minds and extensive expertise form a crucial check on the power of the executive in Parliament but it is much more likely to wield this power by asking Ministers to think again than to veto whole pieces of legislation.
These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel The government has dropped plans to reform the House of Lords by making it mostly elected and slashing its size.
But why was there so much opposition to change and what does it mean for the coalition? What is the House of Lords? Dating back to the 14th Century, it is the second chamber of Parliament, whose main job is to scrutinise and amend parliamentary bills proposed by the House of Commons before they pass into law.
Who are the current members? There are members, known as "peers". Most are appointed on the recommendation of the prime minister or other party leaders. This is usually along party lines, although some are non-political experts in their fields, such as eminent scientists and generals.
Twenty-six peers are senior Church of England bishops. Another 92 are "hereditary" peers, the remnants of the group who once made up the entire membership.
Why did the government want to change the Lords? It argued that the current unelected chamber was undemocratic and needed to be reformed. All three parties promised at least a partly elected House of Lords in their manifestos for the general election.
Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg led the coalition government's push to bring in the changes. What were the main proposals? The government wanted four-fifths of members of a reformed House of Lords to be elected. They would have served year terms of office, after which they could not run for re-election.
The number of peers was to be almost halved, from to The chamber would have kept the title of House of Lords, after names like Senate and Reformed House were rejected. Peers were each to represent a specific region of the United Kingdom, as happens with Members of the European Parliament.
One-third of seats would have been up for grabs in elections held every five years. Of the remaining 90 members, 12 - rather than the current 26 - would have been Church of England bishops. The remainder was to continue to be appointed and all hereditary peers were to be removed.
What did opponents say? Many MPs feared that an elected House of Lords would gain greater legitimacy and, therefore, power, which could undermine the supremacy of the House of Commons. They also said constitutional change should not be the government's priority during a recession.
Several had raised concerns that the coalition was trying to rush the bill through Parliament, arguing that more time needed to be taken to discuss such radical plans.
When was reform supposed to happen? The government wanted the first round of House of Lords elections to happen inwhen the next general election is due to take place. It wanted to get the bill through Parliament by May next year. Why has the government dropped the plans? The government was facing considerable opposition, particularly among Conservative MPs.
In July, 91 Tory MPs rebelled against the government in a vote on how to timetable the House of Lords Reform Bill - the largest such act of defiance since the coalition was formed in Following this the prime minister told his backbenchers he would have "one more try" on Lords reform but if his party could not reach a deal he would "draw a line" under the issue.
Several senior Labour politicians also raised doubts and many peers were reported to be unhappy, too. What does it mean for the coalition?Reform of the House of Lords is a topic of much debate.
Catch up on key reform milestones so far 14 May The House of Lords Reform Act receives Royal Assent. It introduces the principle of resignation from the House of Lords, and allows for the expulsion of members in certain specified.
Yes, the House of Lords needs reform. Why not create vocational peerages? Maurice Glasman. The government has dropped plans to reform the House of Lords by making it mostly elected and slashing its size.
But why was there so much opposition to . What does democracy require for second chambers in legislatures? In , the coalition government introduced the House of Lords Reform Bill to the House of Commons. The Bill would have created a smaller House of Lords in which a large majority of representatives would be chosen in elections by a system of proportional representation, but.
Detailed proposals for Lords reform including a draft House of Lords Reform Bill were published on 17 May These include a member hybrid house, of which 80% are elected. A further 20% would be appointed, and reserve space would be included for some Church of England bishops. Letters: The House of Lords represents another world to most of the public, writes Darren Hughes of the Electoral Reform Society, shame on Christopher Chope, writes Tamsin Dunwoody, the daughter.