Reform of the House of Lords 1900–97
in Parliamentary reform at Westminster
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Historical institutionalism provides a useful lens through which to view the events surrounding reform of the House of Lords in the past century. Executives have successfully argued for the restriction of the powers of the Lords in order to preserve their own position inside parliament. The democratic legitimacy argument has been inverted in order to prevent reforms designed to make the Lords a more effective chamber, and discourse surrounding the reform debate has been underpinned by the normative argument regarding the pre-eminence of the Commons. The pre-eminence argument reflects the norms and values of the executive in particular, rather than the Commons in general. This chapter looks at the reform of the House of Lords in the years between 1900 and 1997. It also discusses the election of the Liberal Party to government in 1906 and the Parliament Act of 1911, the 1917 Bryce Conference held to consolidate parliamentary reform, the Labour Party's rise to power in 1945 and the Parliament Act of 1949, and the Life Peerages Act of 1958.


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