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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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Is the House of Lords ‘Legitimate’? Attitudes Towards the Chamber

Is the House of Lords ‘Legitimate’? Attitudes Towards the Chamber

(p.228) 9 Is the House of Lords ‘Legitimate’? Attitudes Towards the Chamber
The Contemporary House of Lords

Meg Russell

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the tricky question of whether the unelecteHouse of Lords can be considered 'legitimate'. It reviews how this term has been used in debates about the chamber’s role and its possible reform. It also explores how academics have defined legitimacy, including with respect to other unelected bodies such as courts. It then reviews the evidence on attitudes towards the Lords and its legitimacy, from public opinion polls, and surveys of peers and MPs. It also includes an analysis of newspaper editorials about the Lords in the period 1999-2012. The data shows that while the Lords lacks democratic 'input’ legitimacy, many see it as having legitimacy of other kinds, thanks to its proportional party balance, presence of experts, relatively nonpartisan atmosphere (when compared to the Commons), and its policy decisions.

Keywords:   House of Lords, legitimacy, unelected institutions, non-majoritarian bodies, public opinion, surveys, newspaper coverage, media

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