Working to make government more effective

In-person event

(How) can the House of Lords be reformed?

This event explored current proposals for reforming the House of Lords.

Review of the UK constitution

Watch the event

Listen to the event

The House of Lords is back in the spotlight. Boris Johnson’s resignation honours have reignited debates about the appointment process and the ability of politicians to hand life peerages to their friends, supporters and donors. Key figures across Westminster have called for stronger independent oversight of the appointment process. Labour Leader Keir Starmer has gone further, committing to replacing the House of Lords with an elected chamber if he wins the next general election, informed by the work of former prime minister Gordon Brown’s constitutional commission.

However, as past governments have discovered, how to reform the second chamber is the cause of intense disagreement. Who should replace the current membership? What should be the role of a second chamber? What are the risks involved in embarking on major constitutional change – and are the knock-on impacts clearly understood?

This event – part of the IfG Bennett Institute Review of the UK Constitution – explored current proposals for reforming the House of Lords, including the newly-published Brown review, and consider how reform could be achieved.

  • Matthew Hanney, former Special Adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
  • Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society
  • Lord Norton of Louth, Conservative Peer and Professor of Government at the University of Hull
  • Sarah Sackman, Commissioner, Brown Commission, Labour candidate for Finchley and Golders Green

The event was chaired by Jess Sargeant, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Government.


House of Lords
Institute for Government

Related content