Select Committee on Public Administration Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Letter from The Rt Hon Lord Steel of Aikwood (LR 8)

  I refer to your Note to Members of the House of Lords concerning the House of Lords Reform Inquiry.

  A retiring age would be an effective way of bringing down the numbers in the House as is sought while allowing an intake of fresh blood. It could work by permitting any peer over the age of say, 75 or 80 to apply for permanent leave of absence, and encouraging this with a reasonable "resettlement grant" together with limited social access to the building as has been done with the discarded hereditaries.

  The advantage of this approach is that party whips or cross bench managers could encourage people to take advantage of this whilst not excluding a few rarities such as ex-Prime Ministers.

  I am putting this view to your committee in response to their request for suggestions.

David Steel

November 2001

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