MPs to examine membership of the House of Lords
Academic experts on the House of Lords will be quizzed by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee in an evidence session that will examine membership of the House of Lords, including the roles and responsibilities of peers.
While questions over the House of Lords appointments, its size and composition, and the effectiveness of its role in relations to the House of Commons have persisted for some time, the recent elevation of David Cameron to the Lords to take up the role of Foreign Secretary demonstrates the timeliness of the Committee’s inquiry.
In Tuesday’s evidence session, the cross-party Committee will question whether the appointments process to the House of Lords requires reform and will explore the role and powers of the independent vetting body, the House of Lords Appointments Commission (HOLAC).
MPs will consider whether the current arrangements are ensuring the right composition of the House of Lords to properly fulfil its functions as a second chamber, as well as whether HOLAC is sufficiently equipped to conduct proper scrutiny of the suitability of appointments and if its vetting criteria and powers are adequate. The Committee will also seek the views of the witnesses on several statements made by the new Chair of HOLAC, Baroness Deech, in her recent pre-appointment hearing by PACAC.
PACAC will examine additional related issues, such as whether membership of the Lords should be time limited, whether there should be a minimum level of participation, as well as the continued presence of the hereditary peers and the Lords Spiritual.