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House of Lords

Background Color#8B0000
Text Color#FFFFFF
NameThe Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled
Coa PicCrowned Portcullis.svg
Coa AltRed crowned portcullis.
Coa Res115px
Session RoomHouse of Lords chamber - toward throne.jpg
Session AltWood panelled room with high ceiling containing comfortable red padded benches and large gold throne.
House TypeUpper House
Leader1 TypeLord Speaker
Leader1Baroness D'Souza
Election11 September 2011
Leader2 TypeLeader
Leader2Lord Strathclyde
Election211 May 2010
Leader3 TypeOpposition Leader
Leader3Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
Election311 May 2010
(+41 peers on leave of absence or otherwise disqualified from sitting)
Political Groups1Labour Party
Conservative Party
Liberal Democrats
Lords Spiritual
|meeting_place=House of Lords Chamber
Palace of Westminster
United Kingdom

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The House of Lords (commonly referred to as "the Lords", officially referred to as the "Lords Spiritual and Temporal" in Acts of Parliament, and as the "House of Peers" for some ceremonial purposes) is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom's national :legislature. Parliament comprises the Sovereign, the House of Commons (which is the lower house of Parliament and referred to as "the Commons"), and the Lords. The House of Lords, like the House of Commons, assembles in the Palace of Westminster.

The House of Lords as an upper chamber has the primary purpose of scrutinising Legislation proposed by the Lower House through the form of debate and through proposing amendments to legislation. Bills are able to be introduced into either House for debate and reading. Peers of the House of Lords may also be in Cabinet. The Speech from the throne is delivered from the House of Lords, a tradition still emulated in other Commonwealth Realms, as a reminder of the constitutional position of the Monarch. The House also has a minor Church of England role in that through the Lords Spiritual Church Measures must be tabled within the House.

Unlike the House of Commons, members of the House of Lords are not democratically elected but attained by appointment, or by virtue of their ecclesiastical role within the established church (Lords Spiritual), or through a by-election. The Lords Spiritual are 26 senior bishops of the Church of England. The Lords Temporal make up the rest of the membership; of these, the majority are life peers who are appointed by the Monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister, or on the advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission. Membership was once a right of birth to hereditary peers but, following a series of reforms, only 90, elected by the House from the hereditary peers, members sitting by virtue of a hereditary peerage remain. The number of members is not fixed; the House of Lords has 789 members (plus 38 who are on leave of absence or otherwise disqualified from sitting), as against the fixed 650-seat membership of the House of Commons.

The formal title of the House of Lords is The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.

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