Party unity in the HOL
Party unity in the HOL is more relaxed because:
- Peers do not need a party machine to remain in post, as they are unelected/
- This robs the government's ability to discipline or enforce the 'whip' on the HOL.
- This is an advantage because before the hereditary were abolished. there was dominance of them in the HOL:
- This meant that the Conservatives effectively enjoyed an in built majority in the Lords.
- E.g. Thatcher used the HOL to back the Poll Tax.
- However, the Labour Govt of 1997, confronted a consistently hostile 2nd chamber.
- Therefore, the HOL's checking power was used in a highly partisan way.
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Legitimacy in the HOL
The HOL has gained more legitimacy because:
- The removal of most hereditary peers has encouraged members of the HOL to assert their authority.
- As a result, peers are more willing to challenge the govt, because they now feel that the Lords is more constituted.
However, it could be argued that HOL is still illegitimate because:
- They are an unelected chamber, and therefore do not represent the consent of the people.
- They have an input in the legislative process, but the people have not really allowed them to do so.
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Commons vs Lords majority
Until 2000, the Conservative Party mainly had control of the Lords:
- This meant that the Conservatives enjoyed an in built majority in the Lords, and ready made support from them.
- E.g. During the 1979-1997 Conservative Govts, the average of the no. of Lords' defeats per session was just over 13.
- This was due to the majority of the Lords being hereditary peers, and therefore alligned with the Tories.
- Since the hereditary peers has been abolished, the current composition of the Lords has been a balance between the Conservative and Labour representation.
- Some peers argued that they had a duty to check the government of day.
- This was because the HOC had become so ineffective in this respent, due to landslide majorities.
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