This chapter sets the scene, by explaining why the House of Lords might matter, and presenting a set of questions that will be answered in the book. These include the extent of the chamber’s impact on government policy and the culture of British politics, how it was changed by the 1999 reform, how it differs from the House of Commons, whether it can be considered 'legitimate’, and how it might be reformed. The chapter sums up the existing literature on the Lords and parliament more broadly, suggesting that an influential House of Lords would require us to rethink the 'Westminster model’ and power in British politics. It explains the sources used in the book, and summarises its structure.
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