Presentation on theme: "THE HOUSE OF LORDS Was it all that bad?. THE LORDS SINCE 1979 Argument 1 The Lords has changed and there’s a new professionalism and independence among."— Presentation transcript:
THE LORDS SINCE 1979 Argument 1 The Lords has changed and there’s a new professionalism and independence among its members Argument 2. The Lords was a much more effective opposition to Mrs Thatcher than the Labour Party
ARGUMENT 1 The Changes in the Lords more “working peers” More varied backgrounds Greater professionalism 1. 1958 Life Peerages Act
2. Change in political balance of the Second Chamber Decline in the Conservative majority Growth in Crossbenchers but
Anthony Adonis argues … We must distinguish between the “working” and “voting” Lords. The Conservatives held the advantage in “voting” Lords, even if the “working” Lords could put the Conservative government on defence in debate.
And … Few Tory Lords ever voted against the whip “…dissension expressed in adverse votes is hardly more pronounced in the government’s ranks in the Lords than it is in the Commons; and since the Tories are far and away the largest party in the Upper House, this gives them substantial immunity from defeat.” Anthony Adonis, Parliament Today, 1993
Adonis points out Influence of cross bench Lords was over-stated Even when the Lords did defeat the government the matter was almost always reversed Government used its Commons majority Government “rallied” its majority in the Lords they voted about 2 to 1 for the Conservatives
For Adonis, the Lords during Thatcher’s and Major’s governments did not adequately perform the functions of deliberation, revision and scrutiny “ The Lords may no longer be a rubber stamp, but neither has it provided anything but minor obstruction to the Thatcher/Major governments’ legislative programme. For the most part, the Conservative Party’s economic and social priorities are enthusiastically endorsed by the Upper House.”
Why did Thatcher have more trouble with the Lords than previous Conservative PMs ? 1. Changed Party strengths in the House 2. Difficulties of whipping in the Upper House. 3. The political complexion of the House was very different from that of the Commons: Conservative peers were less ideological and more immune to New Right rhetoric.
THE MAJOR GOVERNMENTS AND THE LORDS IN PARTICULAR, SERIOUS CLASHES OVER: Criminal Justice Bill PENAL POLICY
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