Documents to download

This House of Lords Library Briefing presents historical statistics on the membership, attendance and activities of the House of Lords up until the end of the 2016–17 session (the latest complete session available). The figures presented have been collected by the House of Lords.

  • There has been a consistent increase in the actual (the number of Members eligible to attend) and absolute membership (the total number of Members). This has risen from 690 and 693 respectively at the end of the 1999–2000 session, to 802 and 835 at the end of the 2016–17 session. As at 14 February 2019, the actual size of the House was 785 and the absolute size of the House was 807.
  • The proportion of women in the House of Lords has increased over time, with women making up 26 percent of the absolute size of the House at the end of the 2016–17 session.
  • There has been a general increase in average daily attendance over time. In 1999–2000 average daily attendance was 352, and in
    2016–17 it was 484.
  • The average number of Members participating in divisions has also increased markedly from 209 in 1999–2000 to 396 in 2016–17.
  • There has been an increase in the number of questions for written answer over time. In 2016–17 there were 6,872.
  • There has been an increase in the number of private members’ bills passing through the House of Lords over time, attributable to an increase in the number of bills introduced in the House of Lords, rather than an increase in those coming from the House of Commons.
  • In the 2016–17 session the House of Lords made a total of
    2,234 amendments to government bills, an average of 89 per bill. Between 1997–98 and 2016–17, the House of Lords made an average of 68 amendments to each government bill considered. 

Many of the changes and variations in the data may be linked by common factors, especially the size of the House in a given session. Where possible this briefing seeks to aid understanding of the data by plotting data on a per Member or per sitting day basis.


Documents to download

Related posts

  • Standards in Public Life

    This House of Lords Library briefing has been prepared ahead of the following debate in the House on 9 September 2021: Lord Blunkett to move that this House takes note of standards in public life.

    Standards in Public Life
  • Reforming the House of Lords Appointments Commission

    The House of Lords Appointments Commission vets nominations to the House and recommends non-party political members. However, it is not a statutory body and the Prime Minister can disregard its advice. Recently, its advice about the appointment of Lord Cruddas was not followed by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. On 6 September 2021, the House of Lords will debate whether the commission should be reformed and placed on a statutory basis.

    Reforming the House of Lords Appointments Commission