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Change in Order to Conserve: Explaining the Decision to Introduce the 1958 Life Peerages Act

Dorey, Peter 2009. Change in Order to Conserve: Explaining the Decision to Introduce the 1958 Life Peerages Act. Parliamentary History 28 (2) , pp. 246-265. 10.1111/j.1750-0206.2009.00109.x

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The introduction of life peers in 1958 represented the 20th century's most significant change in the composition of the house of lords, until the removal of (most) hereditary peers in 1999. Yet the 1958 reform was introduced by a Conservative government which was under no discernible pressure to do so, least of all by its own back benchers. Yet the Conservative leadership in both houses of parliament decided to seize the initiative on house of lords reform, partly to enable the house of lords to discharge its political responsibilities more effectively, thereby preventing it from atrophying, and partly to pre-empt more extreme reform by a future Labour government. Yet having agreed to undertake such a reform, senior Conservatives encountered a range of often unforeseen constitutional and political problems, which ensured that the final reform was actually rather less comprehensive than many ministers had originally envisaged.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Uncontrolled Keywords: backwoodsmen; composition; hereditary peers; life peers; Lord Salisbury; nominated; principle; reform; support
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
ISSN: 0264-2824
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:15

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