House of Lords (Expulsion and Suspension) Act 2015


The House of Lords (Expulsion and Suspension) Act 2015 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom which authorised the House of Lords to expel a member, or to suspend a member for a definite period of time.[1] This power may only be exercised for conduct which either was committed or became public knowledge after the Act comes into force.[2] A member who is expelled is disqualified from becoming a member again.[3]

House of Lords (Expulsion and Suspension) Act 2015
Long titleAn Act to make provision empowering the House of Lords to expel or suspend members.
Citation2015 c. 14
Introduced bySir George Young (Commons)
Helene Valerie Hayman, Baroness Hayman (Lords)
Territorial extentUnited Kingdom
Dates
Royal assent26 March 2015
Commencement26 June 2015
Status: Current legislation
Text of statute as originally enacted

This act arose from a private member's bill sponsored by Baroness Hayman and Sir George Young.[4]

Background


Historically the House of Lords had no power to expel a member from the House, even if they had committed a criminal offence or been imprisoned.[4] An example of this was when Lord Black of Crossharbour was imprisoned for 3 years and was placed on a leave of absence from the House but only had to give three months notice in order to return.[5] The strongest sanction the House of Lords could issue against a peer was a suspension for the rest of the Parliamentary session.[4]

In 2009, the Committee for Privileges and Conduct issued a report suggesting that the House be granted the power to expel members. The resulting House of Lords Reform Act 2014 allowed for expulsions to be made on grounds of non-attendance or serious criminal conviction.[6] However it was felt these powers were insufficient.[4] The House of Lords (Expulsion and Suspension) Bill was first introduced to Parliament as a Private Members Bill by Baroness Hayman in the House of Lords before progressing to the House of Commons where it was sponsored by Sir George Young.[7] It received Royal Assent from Queen Elizabeth II on 26 March 2015.[7]

Effect


The Act granted the House of Lords the power to amend their Standing Orders to allow for peers to be expelled for breaching the House of Lords code of conduct.[7] Any peer ejected in this manner would still be entitled to keep their title.[7] It was speculated that the power would first be used after Lord Sewel was filmed allegedly taking cocaine, however Lord Sewel resigned before the investigation could take place.[8] The Act was cited by Lord Speaker Baroness D'Souza as evidence for the House of Lords reforming.[9]

See also


References


  1. Section 1.
  2. Section 1(4).
  3. Section 3.
  4. "House of Lords (Expulsion and Suspension) Act" (pdf). Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 2020-03-02. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. Waterson, Jim. "Trump pardons fraudster Conrad Black after glowing biography". The Guardian. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  6. "Four absent peers cease to be House of Lords members". BBC News. 2016-05-19. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  7. "House of Lords (Expulsion and Suspension) Act 2015 - Commons Library briefing". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  8. "Who is Lord Sewel and what are House of Lords rules?". BBC News. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  9. D'Souza, Baroness (2015-07-31). "The Lords must never be sullied by errant peers again". Telegraph. Retrieved 2020-03-02.