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Only 3% of Lords live in Wales – moving London-dominated chamber ‘just rearranging the deckchairs’

16 Jul 2020 2 minute read
Chamber of the House of Lords. Picture by the UK Parliament (CC BY 3.0).

Moving the House of Lords out of London would only be “rearranging the deckchairs” while it remains dominated by peers who live in the English capital city, the Electoral Reform Society has said.

Only 20 Lords, 3.7% of the total number, live in Wales while almost a quarter, 130 or 24.2%, live in London, they said.

Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, was commenting on fresh reports that the House of Lords could be moved to York.

“Moving the House of Lords to York is little more than virtue signalling if nothing is done to change its warped composition,” he said.

“Nearly half of Peers live in London and the South East – compared to just 27% of the UK public. This will remain a Londoner-dominated chamber, whether it’s in York or Westminster, because it is a private members’ club for party donors and loyalists. Instead of meaningless tinkering, voters want real reform.

“Rather than moving the deckchairs, the government must get on with overhauling this unelected house. Ministers cannot be serious about ‘levelling up’ without ensuring that the second chamber genuinely represents the nations and regions of the UK.

“It’s time for real democracy in this country – ending the scandal of unelected privilege, and giving voters everywhere a real voice.”


Where are the Lords?

Place of residence Number of peers residing in each area Proportion of peers residing in an area* Percentage of the UK adult population residing in an area Difference between peers and UK population in each area
London 130 24.20% 13.10% 11.10%
South East 111 20.70% 13.70% 7%
East of England 53 9.90% 9.30% 0.60%
South West 49 9.10% 8.60% 0.60%
Scotland 48 8.90% 8.40% 0.50%
Yorkshire and the Humber 32 6.00% 8.20% -2.30%
North West 26 4.80% 11% -6.10%
West Midlands 21 3.90% 8.80% -4.90%
Wales 20 3.70% 4.80% -1.10%
North East 17 3.20% 4.10% -0.90%
East Midlands 14 2.60% 7.30% -4.70%
Northern Ireland 12 2.20% 2.80% -0.50%
Overseas 4 0.70% N/A N/A

Over half (55%) of peers reside in London, the South East and the East of England, almost 20 percentage points higher than the population share for these regions (36%). London and the South East are over-represented by 11 and 7 percentage points respectively, the ERS said.

The North West, West Midlands and East Midlands are particularly underrepresented, having around 5–6% fewer peers than their population share.

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