One of the principal provisions of the House of Lords Reform Act 2014 – a Private Member’s Bill steered through Parliament by Dan Byles MP and Lord Steel of Aikwood – was to enable peers to retire. Since its enactment, a good number have made use of the provision. Several leading figures have retired in recent months, including the redoubtable Baroness Trumpington. Others have included Lord Loyd-Webber, Lord Hattersley and the scientist Lord May of Oxford. Today sees the retirement of long-serving peer and former minister Lord Clinton-Davis.
Since the 2014 Act took effect, a total of 77 peers have retired. Over the course of the past twelve months (10 Jan. 2017 – 10 Jan. 2018) 32 peers have left the House, either by death or retirement. Interestingly, a large majority (23) have been retirements. Only nine peers have died, lower than is usually the case.
The House last month debated and welcomed the report of the Lord Speaker’s Group on the Size of the House (the Burns Committee). There is much to be done to reduce the size of the House, but the 2014 Act has at least made a modest contribution.