Reform is in the air for the House of Lords, to be fair reform has been in the air for large parts of the last hundred years. Currently reform comes in the form of a proposal put forward by Nick Clegg and backed by David Cameron – you can see the details here. It comes in the context of all three main Westminster parties supporting a largely elected House of Lords in their 2010 General Election manifestos.
The purpose of this post is not to go through the proposals in detail but simply to provide some charts on appointments to the House of Lords over the years. The current composition of the House is shown in the pie-chart below:
The membership of the House of Lords currently numbers 789, I have excluded the handful of members from UKIP, DUP, UUP, the Greens and Plaid Cymru since they are too few to show up in such a chart.
The website www.theyworkforyou.com provides a handy list of peers in an easily readable format, this list includes data such as when they were appointed, what party they belong to, what name they have chosen and when they left and whether they used to be an MP. We can plot the number of appointments each year:
I’ve highlighted election years in red, as you can see election years are popular for the appointment of new members, and it would seem many of those appointed in such years are former MPs, as shown in the graph below:
But to which parties do these appointees belong? This question is answered below:
I hope this provides a useful backdrop to subsequent discussions on reform.