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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.

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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:

1 THE HOUSE OF LORDS Was it all that bad?

2 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

3 ARGUMENT 1 The Changes in the Lords more “working peers” More varied backgrounds Greater professionalism Life Peerages Act

4 2. Change in political balance of the Second Chamber Decline in the Conservative majority Growth in Crossbenchers but

5 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.

6 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

7 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

8 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.”

9 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.

10 THE MAJOR GOVERNMENTS AND THE LORDS IN PARTICULAR, SERIOUS CLASHES OVER: Criminal Justice Bill PENAL POLICY


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