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Lord Speaker’s Committee on the Size of the House

Volume 785: debated on Tuesday 31 October 2017


My Lords, I would like to make a short statement. Noble Lords will recall that on 5 December last year, the House debated a Motion in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, on the size of the House. The Motion sought agreement that the House believes that its size,

“should be reduced, and methods should be explored by which this could be achieved”.

Sixty-one Members spoke during the debate and the Motion was carried unanimously. Shortly after, I established a committee drawn from all three parties and the Cross Benches under the chairmanship of the noble Lord, Lord Burns, to examine how this could be done, and I am pleased to announce that today it has reported.

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Burns, and the other members of the committee for their very hard work and skill over the last year in putting together this report. Copies of the report are now available in the Royal Gallery and online. There will be briefing sessions for Members only in the Queen’s Robing Room at 4 pm today and again at 11 am tomorrow. I will be present and the noble Lord, Lord Burns, and members of the committee will be available to answer questions.

I urge all noble Lords to read the report and give consideration to the recommendations made. My hope is that there will be a general take-note debate before Christmas and more detailed consideration of the specific measures proposed in the new year.

Today’s report presents a challenge, but it also represents an opportunity. We know that the House is too big. A smaller, more effective House will be able to strengthen public confidence and build support for our vital constitutional role. It is now up to us. I commend this report to the House.