A major task is to examine and pass legislation. The House plays
a key role in revising legislation sent from the Commons. It also
initiates legislation, and so shares the burden of the legislative
Another important function is to act as a check on government
by scrutinising its activities. The House does this by asking
questions, debating policy, and through its Select Committees,
taking evidence from Ministers and others.
The House also has an important judicial role as the highest court
of appeal in the land.
Members of the House, collectively, have an enormous breadth of
expertise and, individually, are characterised by independence
of thought. They complement the work of the elected House of Commons,
which reflects political and constituency interests and which,
unlike the Lords, must spend a substantial amount of time on financial
and public expenditure issues.
I hope this brief guide gives you a flavour of the Houses
work and its contribution to Parliament and the country.
Irvine of Lairg