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BRIEFING



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1.

Who is the oldest member of the House of Lords?

 

The Rt Hon the Lord Shawcross, GBE QC (born 4/2/1902).

   

2.

Who is the longest serving member of the House of Lords?

 

The Rt Hon the Earl Jellicoe, KBE DSO MC FRS, Father of the House (took seat 1939, born 4/4/1918).

   

3.

Who is the youngest member?

 

The Lord Freyberg (born 15/12/1970).

   

4.

What is the average age of all members?

 

67 years. (This figure applies to the current calendar year.)

   

5.

How many days does the House of Lords sit in a session?

   

    1959-60 113
    1964-65 124
    1971-72 141
    1975-76 155
    1980-81 143
    1985-86 165
    1992-93 194
    1993-94 142
    1994-95 142
    1995-96 136
    1996-97 79 (Election Year)
    1997-98 228
    1998-99 154
    1999-2000 177
    2000-01 76 (Election Year)
    2001-02 200

     

6. What is the average daily attendance by members per session in the House of Lords?
 

Session

    Average Attendance

1959-60
136
1964-65
194
1971-72
150
1975-76
275
1980-81
296
1985-86
317
1992-93
379
1993-94
378
1994-95
376
1995-96
372
1996-97
381
1997-98
417
1998-99
446
           1999-2000  (First
session following the House of
Lords Act 1999)
352
2000-01
340
2001-02
370
 

7.

 

How long is the average sitting day in the House of Lords?

 
Session
Average Daily Hours Sat (Hours:Minutes)
1992-93
6:52
1993-94
6:51
1994-95
6:22
1995-96
6:53
1996-97
6:40
1997-98
7:02
1998-99
7:36
1999-2000
7:29
2000-01
6:41
2001-02
6:58
 

8.

How many current members of the House of Lords were once MPs?

 

176 (Conservatives 79, Labour 60, Liberal Democrats 21, Crossbenchers 11, other 5) (updated weekly).

Click here for the list of those members

   

9.

How many women members are there in the House of Lords?

 

113 (109 Life and 4 elected Hereditary). (Updated weekly.)

   

10.

Who was the first female life peer created?

 

The Baroness Wootton of Abinger (created under the Life Peerages Act 1958, died 11/7/88, Labour).

   

11.

Who was the first female hereditary peer to take her seat?

 

The Baroness Strange of Knokin in 1963.

   

12.

Who was the first female Leader of the House of Lords?

 

The Rt Hon the Baroness Young (Conservative) Sept 1981 - May 1983 (died 6/9/02).

   

13.

Who was the first female Chief Whip?

 

Baroness Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe (Labour) Nov 1973 Nov 1982 (she died on 6/11/97).

   

14.

Which 3 Members of the House of Lords asked the most written and oral questions in the last session?

 

Written Questions
The Lord Laird, 459 written questions (2001-02 Session).

The Lord Lester of Herne Hill, 206 written questions (2001-02 Session)

The Lord Hylton, 189 written questions (2001-02 Session).

Oral Questions
The Lord Howell of Guildford, 74 oral questions (2001-02 Session)

The Baroness Gardner of Parkes, 68 oral questions (2001-02 Session).

The Lord Avebury, 67 oral questions (2001-02 Session).

(The above information is updated at the end of each session.)

   

15.

When was the last all-night sitting?

 

October 2000. From 2.30 pm Tuesday 3rd October until 7.58 am Wednesday 4th October on the Countryside and Rights of Way Bill.

July 2000. From 2.30 pm Monday 24th July until 5.12 am Tuesday 25th July on the Football (Disorder) Bill.

June 1988. From 2.30 pm Tuesday 28th June until 8.47 am Wednesday 29th June on the Education Reform Bill.

   

16.

How many times has the Government been defeated in the House of Lords?

Session

Number of Defeats

Labour

 

1974-75

Figures not kept

1975-76

126

1976-77

25

1977-78

78

1978-79

11

 

 

Conservative

 

1979-80

15

1980-81

18

1981-82

7

1982-83

5

 

 

Conservative

 

1983-84

20

1984-85

17

1985-86

22

1986-87

3

 

 

Conservative

 

1987-88

17

1988-89

12

1989-90

20

1990-91

17

1991-92

6

 

 

Conservative

 

1992-93

19

1993-94

16

1994-95

7

1995-96

10

1996-97

10

 

 

Labour

 

1997-98

39

1998-99

31

1999-2000

36

2000-01

2

2001-02

56

2002-03

2 (as at 31.01.03)

17.

What was the largest division (vote) in the House of Lords?

 

A total of 621 peers voted in the division on the European Communities (Amendment) Bill, 14 July 1993. The vote concerned the ratification of the Maastricht treaty. To date it is the largest number of Peers voting since 1831.

   

18.

Where can I get a copy of the most recent Lords reform White Paper?

 

The White Paper published on 7 November 2001 "The House of Lords - Completing the Reform" is available on the Internet at www.lcd.gov.uk/constitution/holref/index.htm The White Paper can also be purchased from The Stationery Office for 8.25 ISBN 0 - 10 - 152912 - 0. Consultation ended on 31 January 2002.

   

19.

What is the difference between a parliament and a session?

 

A parliament can last a maximum of five years and runs from one general election to the next.

A session of Parliament runs from the State Opening of Parliament usually in October/November through to the following October/November. If there is an election however the Session begins after the election and runs to the autumn of the following year e.g. May 1997 through to November 1998.

   

20.

What is a recess, prorogation, and dissolution?

 

Recess - a break within a session e.g. Christmas, Easter, Whitsun, Summer.

Prorogation - the gap between the end of one session and the State Opening which begins the next.

Dissolution - the end of one Parliament before an election and the beginning of the next session.

   

21.

When are the House of Lords recesses?

 

The House of Lords normally has a recess of two or three weeks at Christmas/New Year, about a week at Easter, and a week at Whitsun. The summer recess normally runs from August to early October.

The provisional recess dates for Session 2002-03 (Start date 13 November 2002) are:

    Christmas19 Dec 2002- 7 Jan 2003
    Easter10 April 2003- 28 April 2003
    Whitsun22 May 2003- 3 June 2003
    Summer recess 2003Should begin not later than the middle of July and the House sit for two weeks in September

    Click here for previous recess dates.

   
   

22.

When was the House of Lords last recalled?

 

The House was last recalled on Tuesday 24 September 2002 to debate Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.

Click here for a list of recall dates going back to 1931.

 

23.

How many members of the House of Lords are on Leave of Absence?

 

There are 13 members of the House of Lords on Leave of Absence (updated weekly).

Click here for a list of those members.

 

24.

What is Leave of Absence?

 

A member of the House of Lords is expected to attend regularly but may obtain leave of absence. Once granted, the member is expected not to attend sittings of the House. If the member wishes to attend before the leave period ends, they should give one months notice.

 

 

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Updated 31 January 2003