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    Excuse my lack of understanding, but what exactly is the point of the House of Lords?
    From the brief research I've done, it seems all they can do is delay bills going through!

    Many thanks to anyone who clears up my confusion.
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    They are there to examine what the Commons produces and make amendments to it, then send it back to the government for examination, who must then pass it through the Commons and Lords again if they object to the amendments. Thanks to the nominations system (HoL appointments committee), there is quite a lot of expertise and experience in there to contribute, especially from the cross-benchers. For the most part, they can give an objective view on the legislation, free from the demands of the government, the papers, or constituents. They, ultimately, cannot block something completely if there is overwhelming public support for it (the PM pushes it through the third time of rejection by the Lords), but if it is unpopular, then it is too difficult to push through (see 42 days detention).

    The Lords contains former government ministers, EU commissioners, UN officials, scientists, human rights advocates, university professors, lawyers, secret intelligence service/security service members, etc. These people know what to look for in legislation and who is to blame if things in legislation are wrong.

    It does however mean that there can be partisan links in some of the former party members who may still stay loyal to the party even when able to do what they want.

    In my opinion, they are an asset, if one that needs improvement (I would hope for less party-political lords, more cross-benchers, and some form of stripping of titles as punishment as my top three reforms).
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    (Original post by Benny_b)
    Excuse my lack of understanding, but what exactly is the point of the House of Lords?
    It has, apparently, the function of allowing wealthy donors to create and influence legislation according to their own interests in exchange for cash...
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    its a revision chamber designed to slow down potentially dangerous legislation in order for it to be re-thought etc.
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    (Original post by Kuros)
    They are there to examine what the Commons produces and make amendments to it, then send it back to the government for examination, who must then pass it through the Commons and Lords again if they object to the amendments. Thanks to the nominations system (HoL appointments committee), there is quite a lot of expertise and experience in there to contribute, especially from the cross-benchers. For the most part, they can give an objective view on the legislation, free from the demands of the government, the papers, or constituents. They, ultimately, cannot block something completely if there is overwhelming public support for it (the PM pushes it through the third time of rejection by the Lords), but if it is unpopular, then it is too difficult to push through (see 42 days detention).
    Fantastic answer. It's also worth pointing out that many other countries also have a 'bicameral legislature' (in two parts), in order to analyse legislation fully. In the UK, a less party-political second house is a good check on the powers of an executive that controls the Commons
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    It is still a very powerful place, if you take the example of 42 day detention, even though the commons could force it through under the parliament act, it would be political suicide to do so. The parliament act, which takes the power away can only be used under certain circumstances.
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    (Original post by Kuros)
    They are there to examine what the Commons produces and make amendments to it, then send it back to the government for examination, who must then pass it through the Commons and Lords again if they object to the amendments. Thanks to the nominations system (HoL appointments committee), there is quite a lot of expertise and experience in there to contribute, especially from the cross-benchers. For the most part, they can give an objective view on the legislation, free from the demands of the government, the papers, or constituents. They, ultimately, cannot block something completely if there is overwhelming public support for it (the PM pushes it through the third time of rejection by the Lords), but if it is unpopular, then it is too difficult to push through (see 42 days detention).

    The Lords contains former government ministers, EU commissioners, UN officials, scientists, human rights advocates, university professors, lawyers, secret intelligence service/security service members, etc. These people know what to look for in legislation and who is to blame if things in legislation are wrong.

    It does however mean that there can be partisan links in some of the former party members who may still stay loyal to the party even when able to do what they want.

    In my opinion, they are an asset, if one that needs improvement (I would hope for less party-political lords, more cross-benchers, and some form of stripping of titles as punishment as my top three reforms).
    Awesome response, thanks alot! And cheers to everyone else as well.

    The 'house of lords' tended to conjure the image of a load of wealthy land owners to me anyway, but the bit I've highlighted in bold is very re-assuring.
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    It has, apparently, the function of allowing wealthy donors to create and influence legislation according to their own interests in exchange for cash...
    Some of the Labour peers, it seems. I was surprised the Times didn't check any of the Cross-bench peers, but I suppose the parties are where the corruption is most likely to happen.
    Fantastic answer. It's also worth pointing out that many other countries also have a 'bicameral legislature' (in two parts), in order to analyse legislation fully. In the UK, a less party-political second house is a good check on the powers of an executive that controls the Commons
    Thanks - and I agree. On the other hand, it is true that most upper chambers are either elected, either directly (such as the American Senate - voted to be in the chamber) or indirectly (such as the French Sénat - local government officials voted to run their local departement). We've rather got an oddity, internationally speaking. The closest I can think of is the Irish Seanad, which is composed of some appointed members by the Taoiseach (Prime Minister), some elected by university graduates, and some elected by vocational panels for specific fields, but I can't comment on how effective it is.

    Awesome response, thanks alot! And cheers to everyone else as well.

    The 'house of lords' tended to conjure the image of a load of wealthy land owners to me anyway, but the bit I've highlighted in bold is very re-assuring.
    Thanks again; I should stress though, that the cross-benchers (where most of the non-government expertise comes from) are only around 200 strong out of about 700, and that there are still 92 hereditary peers in the House as left-overs from before the reform.

    It's not ideal, but I think it's a good system, and certainly a good framework for further improvement.

    Glad I helped!
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    (Original post by Kuros)
    They are there to examine what the Commons produces and make amendments to it, then send it back to the government for examination, who must then pass it through the Commons and Lords again if they object to the amendments. Thanks to the nominations system (HoL appointments committee), there is quite a lot of expertise and experience in there to contribute, especially from the cross-benchers. For the most part, they can give an objective view on the legislation, free from the demands of the government, the papers, or constituents. They, ultimately, cannot block something completely if there is overwhelming public support for it (the PM pushes it through the third time of rejection by the Lords), but if it is unpopular, then it is too difficult to push through (see 42 days detention).

    The Lords contains former government ministers, EU commissioners, UN officials, scientists, human rights advocates, university professors, lawyers, secret intelligence service/security service members, etc. These people know what to look for in legislation and who is to blame if things in legislation are wrong.

    It does however mean that there can be partisan links in some of the former party members who may still stay loyal to the party even when able to do what they want.

    In my opinion, they are an asset, if one that needs improvement (I would hope for less party-political lords, more cross-benchers, and some form of stripping of titles as punishment as my top three reforms).
    I'm sorry but your composition of the Lords seems far to idealistic. The majority of the Lords members are party political and sadly most are 'dead wood' from the commons, MP's who either lost their seat or became pensioners are given a place there. Last time I looked, there were a very small number of cross benchers compared to those who considered themselves alligned with the 3 parties, plus the joke that is the 90 hereditory peers who overwhelmingly declare themselves Conservatives. I haven't checked but I bet the 4 lords mentioned in this graft scandal are all ex Labour MP's or ministers.

    Yes there are a few useful people in there, I guess by the intelligence services you mean Pauline-Neville Jones and Elisa Manningham Butler, but I'm sure Jones is Conservative but not so sure that Butler votes with Labour. The LAC recommends and scrutinises candidates for a peerage, but it doesn't have any power, the PM ultimately decides who goes in there, when he acts as Head of State, this usually means Labour activists and the other 2 parties have their own politicians put in under a quota.

    It contains hardly any "EU commissioners, UN officials, scientists, human rights advocates, university professors, lawyers, secret intelligence service/security service members". Don't come back with me and quote such and such is this, for example in the Commons Vince Cable is a professor of economics and Harriet Harman is a barrister, they are partisan politicians though, hardly impartial experts.
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    I'm sorry but your composition of the Lords seems far to idealistic. The majority of the Lords members are party political and sadly most are 'dead wood' from the commons, MP's who either lost their seat or became pensioners are given a place there. Last time I looked, there were a very small number of cross benchers compared to those who considered themselves alligned with the 3 parties, plus the joke that is the 90 hereditory peers who overwhelmingly declare themselves Conservatives. I haven't checked but I bet the 4 lords mentioned in this graft scandal are all ex Labour MP's or ministers.
    Most of this is addressed in my above post. I should, however, point out that for the main allegiances, Labour currently leads the table of peers with 218, followed by the cross-benchers at 206, then 198 Conservative. Besides, just because a member is of a party, doesn't mean they don't have valuable experience. There are quite a large number of ex-ministers in the Lords, all from the parties, not to mention the high-profile Lord Mandelson for Labour. I can't honestly say I don't appreciate having a former EU trade Commissioner in debates, even if said Lord is about as partisan as they get.

    Yes there are a few useful people in there, I guess by the intelligence services you mean Pauline-Neville Jones and Elisa Manningham Butler, but I'm sure Jones is Conservative but not so sure that Butler votes with Labour. The LAC recommends and scrutinises candidates for a peerage, but it doesn't have any power, the PM ultimately decides who goes in there, when he acts as Head of State, this usually means Labour activists and the other 2 parties have their own politicians put in under a quota.
    Actually, Baroness Manningham-Buller is cross-bench, but that's besides the point. I was under the impression that the recommendations to the sovereign were pretty much in the same way as all recommendations to the sovereign; essentially superfluous, since the recommendations are the results. I would appreciate a source either way on this though - I'm not certain.

    It contains hardly any "EU commissioners, UN officials, scientists, human rights advocates, university professors, lawyers, secret intelligence service/security service members". Don't come back with me and quote such and such is this, for example in the Commons Vince Cable is a professor of economics and Harriet Harman is a barrister, they are partisan politicians though, hardly impartial experts.
    I was just pointing out these experts are in the house, not that they were impartial. Please reread my post. I mention that most of the scientists are in the cross-bench, not that they all are, and that the cross-benchers are much freer to speak their minds. Of course, peers are also more free to do other than toe the party line, so just that they are in a party does not mean they will necessarily vote along that party's lines.

    As to the claim that it contains hardly any of these - I did not make a claim as to how many of them there were. My point was that there are experts in the House who can contribute to debates above and beyond what is done in the Commons due to the experience and expertise they have, and are more free to speak their minds than their colleagues in the other place. I hardly think the House is totally meritocratic and full of impartial experts, but the fact that it is more predisposed to such an arrangement is a positive in my mind.
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    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    It has, apparently, the function of allowing wealthy donors to create and influence legislation according to their own interests in exchange for cash...
    At least now. The Commons weren't too happy with them rejecting gun control, smoking bans, fox hunting bans, ID cards, god knows what else...

    HOL USED to be a good institution. It has been ruined. Either get rid of it or send it back to how it used to be.
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    (Original post by Kuros)
    Most of this is addressed in my above post. I should, however, point out that for the main allegiances, Labour currently leads the table of peers with 218, followed by the cross-benchers at 206, then 198 Conservative. Besides, just because a member is of a party, doesn't mean they don't have valuable experience. There are quite a large number of ex-ministers in the Lords, all from the parties, not to mention the high-profile Lord Mandelson for Labour. I can't honestly say I don't appreciate having a former EU trade Commissioner in debates, even if said Lord is about as partisan as they get.

    Actually, Baroness Manningham-Buller is cross-bench, but that's besides the point. I was under the impression that the recommendations to the sovereign were pretty much in the same way as all recommendations to the sovereign; essentially superfluous, since the recommendations are the results. I would appreciate a source either way on this though - I'm not certain.

    I was just pointing out these experts are in the house, not that they were impartial. Please reread my post. I mention that most of the scientists are in the cross-bench, not that they all are, and that the cross-benchers are much freer to speak their minds. Of course, peers are also more free to do other than toe the party line, so just that they are in a party does not mean they will necessarily vote along that party's lines.

    As to the claim that it contains hardly any of these - I did not make a claim as to how many of them there were. My point was that there are experts in the House who can contribute to debates above and beyond what is done in the Commons due to the experience and expertise they have, and are more free to speak their minds than their colleagues in the other place. I hardly think the House is totally meritocratic and full of impartial experts, but the fact that it is more predisposed to such an arrangement is a positive in my mind.
    I never said that Buller voted with Labour, as you'd see I specifically said I wasn't sure, but was certain about Jones.

    Thank you for the statistic which proves my point about the partisanship of the Lords. The LAC recommends appointments to the PM, not to the sovereign as you said and these are only for public service, the majority who are appointed are political.

    Lord Mandelson was only appointed so there would be some parliamentary accountability since he is a Secretary of State. He is hardly likely to turn up and vote on bills and even more unlikely to turn up to debates, unless they are vital to Business and Enterprise. In reality, when Labour leave government, he'll almost never turn up to the Lords as he'll have another career, yet he may still exercise his power to vote, even though he isn't active in debates or scrutiny, surely this cannot be healthy. Brown has appointed so many experts to the Lords recently so they can act as ministers, but they'll have no place when Labour leaves government, yet they serve a life term in the Lords, how anyone can think the Lords don't need reform is beyond me.
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    I never said that Buller voted with Labour, as you'd see I specifically said I wasn't sure, but was certain about Jones.
    Yes, I was clarifying. I'm sorry if it came off as more of a correction; it wasn't meant to be.
    Thank you for the statistic which proves my point about the partisanship of the Lords. The LAC recommends appointments to the PM, not to the sovereign as you said and these are only for public service, the majority who are appointed are political.
    Yes - you said before, but I would appreciate a source.
    Lord Mandelson was only appointed so there would be some parliamentary accountability since he is a Secretary of State. He is hardly likely to turn up and vote on bills and even more unlikely to turn up to debates, unless they are vital to Business and Enterprise. In reality, when Labour leave government, he'll almost never turn up to the Lords as he'll have another career, yet he may still exercise his power to vote, even though he isn't active in debates or scrutiny, surely this cannot be healthy. Brown has appointed so many experts to the Lords recently so they can act as ministers, but they'll have no place when Labour leaves government, yet they serve a life term in the Lords, how anyone can think the Lords don't need reform is beyond me.
    Well, I agree that reform is needed.
 
 
 
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