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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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Political Actors in the Lords

Political Actors in the Lords

(p.94) 5 Political Actors in the Lords
The Contemporary House of Lords

Meg Russell

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the House of Lords’ membership, and the role and behaviour of its different groups. It briefly describes the key groups - Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, independent Crossbenchers and bishops - and how they are organised. It then analyses attendance and voting patterns in the chamber, considering factors such as party cohesion, rebellion and the role of the whips. It also asks who are the 'pivotal voters’ or 'veto players’ in the Lords, in terms of which group(s) in practice hold the balance of power. This analysis, based on all votes in the chamber during 1999-2012, demonstrates the key role of the Liberal Democrats in inflicting defeat under Labour, and the growing importance of the Crossbenchers under the 2010 coalition government. The chapter also discusses how this delicate party balance helps create the chamber’s famous 'less political’ culture, and affects relationships between its different groups.

Keywords:   House of Lords, membership, Labour Party, Conservative Party, Liberal Democrats, Crossbenchers, bishops, party balance, whips, voting, party cohesion, rebellions, defeats, pivotal voters, veto players

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