HL Deb 27 March 2002 vol 633 cc45-6WA
Lord Monson

asked Her Majesty's Government:

  1. (a) how they reconcile the statement in paragraph 94 of the White Paper on completing the reform of the House of Lords that, "The Royal Commission recommended that current life peers should retain their membership of the House for life", with Recommendation 103 in the Report of the Royal Commission, "that life peers created between the publication of this Report and the enactment of the legislation necessary to implement the second stage of Lords reform should be deemed to have been appointed to the reformed second chamber for a period totalling 15 years from the award of their life peerage;
  2. (b) why they have not accepted Recommendation 103 of the report; and
  3. (c) how many persons of each of the three major political parties have been appointed life Peers since the date of the publication of the report. [HL3476]

The Lord Chancellor

The White Paper made a shorthand reference to the basic proposition of the Royal Commission; namely, that existing life Peers should retain their right to life membership. That is what the Royal Commission proposed for the vast majority of existing life Peers. The Government rejected the proposal in Recommendation 103, that life Peers appointed after the publication of the Royal Commission's report should be deemed to have been appointed for 15 years, on the same grounds as led the Royal Commission to make its basic proposition contained in Recommendation 102. At the time of appointment, those life Peers would reasonably expect that their appointment would have been for life, given that the Government had made no announcement that it intended to seek to implement Recommendation 103. Since 20 January 2000, there have been 34 creations of Labour life Peers, 11 Conservatives and 14 Liberal Democrats, with creation being defined as the issue of a first Writ of Summons after that date. Labour still has 21 fewer Members of the House than the Conservatives.