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New Labour and the House of Lords

Labour signified its intention to remove the hereditary peers from the House of Lords as the first stage in an overall reform of the House.

Hereditary peers were ready to wreck the Bill with endless amendments that would clog up the parliamentary timetable as they argued that they should not be removed until the new form of the House was agreed. This was in breach of the Salisbury Convention as the Labour election manifesto had included the removal of the hereditaries.

In the end, Lord Cranborne, the Conservative leader in the Lords, did a deal with the Labour leadership, without consulting the then Conservative party leader, William Hague who was furious.

92 hereditary peers were to remain, elected by the body of hereditary peers under the House of Lords Act, 1999.

Despite a whole series of reports and discussions in the House of Commons second stage reform of the Lords has not happened while the membership increases and controversy of appointments continues.

The only change has been the retirement of some members of the Lords.