Political and Constitutional Reform CommitteeSupplementary written evidence submitted by David Beamish, Clerk of the Parliaments

Introduction

Further to my oral evidence on 4 July 2013, I give below (1) some statistics on House of Lords membership changes over the last few years (as referred to in my oral evidence), and (2) some statistics relevant to the question of the impact of the size of the House.

House of Lords Membership Trends

The following data may be of interest to the Committee:

New life peers created since 17 November 1999: 386 (including seven returning hereditary peers given life peerages).

Deaths of life peers since 17 November 1999: 240.

Deaths of excepted hereditary peers since 17 November 1999: 21.

Average age of life peers in November 1999: 68.

Average age of excepted hereditary peers in November 1999: 58.

Average age of life peers today: 71.

Average age of excepted hereditary peers today: 68.

Peers aged 65 or over: 586.

Peers aged 70 or over: 433.

Peers aged 75 or over: 267.

Peers aged 80 or over: 160.

Peers aged 90 or over: 21.

Effect of Increased Attendance on Proceedings in the Chamber

When I was asked about the practical impact of the size of the House, I focused on the impact on the House of Lords Administration. The Committee may also be interested in the impact on proceedings in the Chamber, as illustrated by the following statistics recently prepared at the request of the House of Lords House Committee. Particularly striking is the increase in the number of debates with a backbench time limit of 3 minutes or less.

MEMBERSHIP

Session 2007–08

Session 2012–13

Membership of the House1

733

763

Average daily attendance

413

484

Average number voting in divisions

234

363

Average size of larger division lobby

143

209

TIME LIMITS IN DEBATES2

Questions for Short Debate

Session 2007–08

Session 2012–13

Total number of QSDs

70

104

Average time limit for backbench speeches (mins:secs)

8:083

5:524

Number of QSDs with a backbench time limit of 3 minutes or less

3

19

Balloted debates

Total number of balloted debates

13

14

Average time limit for backbench speeches (mins:secs)

11:16

9:22

QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWER

Session 2007–08

Session 2012–13

Total number of QWAs tabled

5,814

6,706

Average number of QWAs tabled per sitting day

35.45

48.95

Average number of QWAs tabled per Member per sitting day

0.048

0.064

8 July 2013

1 As at the end of the Session in question. Excludes those on leave of absence, disqualified, retired, etc.

2 These figures are based on all debates where the Government Whips’ Office was able to specify a speaking limit. A few debates for which the speaking limit was not available have been excluded from the calculations.

3 For 1 hour QSDs, the average was 8:02; for 1½ hour QSDs, the average was 8:52.

4 For 1 hour QSDs, the average was 5:27; for 1½ hour QSDs, the average was 6:29.

Prepared 16th October 2013