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House of Lords Reform: A History

Volume 1. The Origins to 1937: Proposals Deferred- Book One: The Origins to 1911- Book Two: 1911–1937

Peter Raina

One of the peculiarities of British history is the development of a constitution headed by the Crown and the two Houses of Parliament. This system emerged to become a balance of democracy, efficiency and moderation that became the admiration of the world.
The contribution of the House of Lords to this balance is all too often overlooked. In this richly documented two-volume work, the author offers a detailed examination of the Lords’ constitutional position and the predicament they faced as the Commons increasingly championed popular rule. With a landowning membership based on the hereditary principle, the Lords struggled to adapt. Yet, valiant attempts were made. The author gives us the first thorough, full-length history of the Lords’ ambiguous responses to the new democracy and the stream of arguments, proposals and bills raised for reform of their House.
Drawing on speeches, letters, reports and memoranda of the times (some never previously published), the book brings to life the inner wranglings and arresting personalities, the hopes and anxieties and the sheer frustrations of a House divided between entrenched interests and idealism, and often threatened by progressives outside.
The two books in Volume One cover the period from the medieval origins of the House of Lords and proceed, through many tumultuous events, to the outbreak of the Second World War.
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Chapter 49: Report of the Joint Committee: Peers and members of the House of Commons, 1932

Extract

← ii. 482 | ii. 483 → CHAPTER FORTY-NINE

Report of the Joint Committee: Peers and members of the House of Commons, 1932

Since there was general consensus within the National Government that Lords’ reform had become a necessity, it was strongly felt that a joint committee of peers and members of the Commons should be established in order to find a suitable reform solution – one that might be acceptable both to the Lords and the Commons. A joint committee was duly created, and it met under the chairmanship of Lord Salisbury. The committee drafted a very lengthy report in October 1932. We reproduce it below.

Confidential

Report of the Joint Committee of Peers and Members of the House of Commons on House of Lords Reform.1

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