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The Contemporary House of LordsWestminster Bicameralism Revived$
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Meg Russell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199671564

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199671564.001.0001

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A Brief History of the House of Lords

A Brief History of the House of Lords

(p.13) 2 A Brief History of the House of Lords
The Contemporary House of Lords

Meg Russell

Oxford University Press

This chapter summarises the history of the House of Lords, from the emergence of bicameralism in the 14th century to Labour’s reform in 1999. It describes the chamber’s changing membership, role and powers, and frequent pressures for its reform. It charts various controversies about peerage creations, the chamber’s abolition in the 17th century, its gradual expansion during the 18th and 19th centuries, and tensions during the growth of democracy for the House of Commons (e.g. over the 1832 'Great Reform Act'). The chapter is chronological, devoting gradually more words to recent history. In the 20th century it covers the crisis over the 1909 'people’s budget’, the passage of the 1911 and 1949 Parliament Acts, the 1958 Life Peerages Act and 1999 House of Lords Act. It demonstrates that many contemporary controversies about the Lords are not new, and that while small reforms have often succeeded, larger ones have generally failed.

Keywords:   House of Lords, peerage, history, Parliament Acts, Great Reform Act, Life Peerages Act, reform

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