Annual Report 2002-03


Membership of The House

74. Apart from the appointment of one Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, only two life peerages were created between 1 April 2002 and 31 March 2003 ­ the lowest number since the Life Peerages Act 1958. The House of Lords Appointments Commission has made no further recommendations for non party-political Members of the House since its first set of recommendations in 2001. The total number of Members entitled to sit in the House accordingly declined from 708 to 691 (see Appendix C).

75. The average daily attendance at the House in 2002 was 370, compared with 355 in 2001. Membership by political party and other groups is illustrated below.

76. The death, in January 2003, of the Viscount of Oxfuird, one of the 92 hereditary peers who remained Members of the House under the House of Lords Act 1999, led to the holding of the first by-election for hereditary peers under the terms of the Act. Lord Oxfuird was one of the 15 peers elected from among those ready to serve as Deputy Speakers, and the electorate for the by-election was accordingly the whole House. There were 81 candidates from the 126 peers on the register of those wishing to stand in by-elections. Polling took place on 25 and 26 March and the count, undertaken by Electoral Reform Services on behalf of the Clerk of the Parliaments, on 27 March. The election was conducted using the alternative vote system. Electors ranked in order as many candidates as they wished, and those with fewest first-preference votes were progressively eliminated and their votes transferred.

77. A total of 423 valid votes were cast and the successful candidate, Viscount Ullswater, was announced to the House by the Clerk of the Parliaments on 27 March.

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