In the aftermath of the general election, questions were raised about how the composition of the House of Lords would affect the ability of the new Conservative Government to get its business through Parliament. Even though no contentious legislation has yet reached the final crunch point of legislative ping-pong between the two Houses, the House of Lords has already defeated the government ten times since the election. This seems to vindicate those who predicted that the make-up of the Lords would affect government business in this parliament. The present tally of peers in the House of Lords is 228 Conservative peers, 212 Labour, 101 Liberal Democrat, 178 crossbenchers, 26 bishops and 38 from other parties or non-affiliated. The Conservative party is far from having a majority and the Liberal Democrats carry much greater weight now in the Lords than in the Commons. Following the election, the Liberal Democrat Leader in the Lords, Lord Wallace, argued that the convention which constrains the Lords from voting down the governing party’s manifesto promises (the Salisbury convention – established following Labour’s landslide victory in 1945, when the party had just 16 peers) was out of date . He suggested that Liberal Democrat peers would […]

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