Political and Constitutional Reform CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Lord Cobbold

I accept the desirability, practicality and effectiveness of mechanisms for reducing the size of the House of Lords except for the need for a retirement age for peers. People age at very different rates and the present House contains many members of an advanced age who make an exceptionally valuable contribution to the work of the House. I believe that it is preferable to have a fixed-term appointment for new peers, which I think should be 20 years. Of course it should be possible with the agreement of, say, the Lord Speaker to extend the period of service of a peer, who is making an especially valuable contribution.

To successfully introduce a fixed-term period of service into the present House would, I believe, require a transition period of say, five years. One mechanism as to how this might be achieved is set out In the attached copy of the amendment (No 147) that I submitted to the Committee stage of the House of Lords Bill on the 15 January 2008, but which was not debated.

22 March 2013

 

Amendment No.

After Clause 10 •

LORD COBBOLD

Insert the following new Clause—

 

“Period of service

147

 

(1)

Subject to subsections (3) and (4), members of the House of Lords appointed under Part 1 of this Act shall retire at the end of the session in which they reach a period of service of 20 years.

 

(2)

Subject to subsections (3) and (4), all other members of the House of Lords shall retire in accordance with the following—

 

 

(a)

at the end of the session in which this Act is passed all members with 25 or more years’ service on the day of prorogation shall retire;

 

 

(b)

at the end of the session following that in which this Act is passed all members with 24 or more years’ service on the day of prorogation shall retire;

 

 

(c)•

at the end of the second session following that in which this Act is passed all members with 23 or more years service on the day of prorogation shall retire;

 

 

(d)

at the end of the third session following that in which this Act is passed all members with 22 or more years’ service on the day of prorogation shall retire;

 

 

(e)

at the end of the fourth session following that in which this Act Is passed all members with 21 or more years’ service on the day of prorogation shall retire;

 

 

(f)

at the end of the fifth session following that in which this Act is passed all members with 20 or more years’ service on the day of prorogation shall retire.

 

(3)

Subsection (4) applies where a member of the House of Lords (“M”) is, In the view of the Lord Speaker, playing an exceptional role in the House.

 

(4)

Any member, other than M, may make an application to the Lord Speaker who may, upon application, extend M’s membership of the House for a period not exceeding five years.”

Prepared 16th October 2013