THE H  O  U  S  E   of   L  O  R  D  S - a brief guide - continued


Unlike MPs, Lords are unelected and unpaid, except for certain allowances to cover attendance, which is voluntary.

They include:Lord Chancellor welcoming a new peer
Lord Chancellor welcoming a new peer
(Apart from Bishops – numbers in each category and within party and crossbench groups change frequently – the Internet has up to date figures)

PortcullisParty Groups
Each of the three main party groups, Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat has a leader, whips who organise the business of the House and departmental spokesmen who sit on the frontbench.

The Lord Chancellor is the Speaker of the House but unlike the Speaker of the House of Commons has no power to control proceedings. The House regulates itself, under the guidance of the Leader of the House who, as well as leading the party in government has a responsibility to the House of Lords as a whole.

Many peers have no party affiliation and are known as Crossbenchers. They have a Convenor but no whip system. Their independence is a distinctive feature of the House of Lords.

PortcullisOn Parchment, In Print, On TV and On-Line
The House of Lords’ business is recorded in a variety of forms:
  • Archives from 1497, including original Acts of Parliament, are kept in the House of Lords’ Record Office which is open to the public.

  • The day’s proceedings are printed in the Official Report, referred to as Hansard after its first printer. It is also available on the Internet, along with much other information.

  • The televising of parliament was pioneered by the House of Lords in 1985 and the Lords’ proceedings can be seen on the Parliamentary Channel when the House is sitting.
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© Parliamentary copyright 1998
Prepared 2 November 1998