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In the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, life peers are appointed members of the
peerage A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary title Hereditary titles, in a general sense, are nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societi ...
whose titles cannot be inherited, in contrast to
hereditary peer The hereditary peers form part of the peerage in the United Kingdom. As of 2021 there are 810 hereditary peers: 30 dukes (including six royal dukes), 34 marquesses, 191 earls, List of viscounts in the peerages of Britain and Ireland, 112 visco ...
s. In modern times, life peerages, always created at the rank of
baron Baron is a rank of nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the ...

baron
, are created under the
Life Peerages Act 1958 The Life Peerages Act 1958 established the modern standards for the creation of life peers by the British monarchy, Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Background This Act was made during the Conservative Government 1957–1964, Conservative governme ...
and entitle the holders to seats in the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
, presuming they meet qualifications such as age and citizenship. The legitimate children of a life peer are entitled to
style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style An architectural style is a set of characteristics and features that make a building or other structure notable or historically identifiable. It is a sub-cla ...
themselves with the prefix "
The Honourable The prefix The Honourable (or The Honorable in the United States and the Philippines), abbreviated to The Hon., Hon., or The Hon'ble, is an honorific An honorific is a title that conveys esteem, courtesy, or respect for position or rank wh ...
", although they cannot inherit the peerage itself.


Before 1887

The Crown The Crown is the state (polity), state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their subdivisions (such as the Crown Dependencies, British Overseas Territories, overseas territories, Provinces and territorie ...

The Crown
, as ''
fount of honourThe fount of honour ( la, fons honorum) is a person, who, by virtue of his or her official position, has the exclusive right of conferring legitimate nobility, titles of nobility and orders of chivalry on other persons. Origin During the High Mid ...
'', creates peerages of two types, being hereditary or for life. In the early days of the peerage, the Sovereign had the right to summon individuals to one Parliament without being bound to summon them again. Over time, it was established that once summoned, a peer would have to be summoned for the remainder of his life, and later, that the peer's heirs and successors would also be summoned, thereby firmly entrenching the hereditary principle. Nevertheless, life peerages lingered. From the reign of
James I James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and King of Ireland, Ireland as James I from the Union of the Crowns, union of the Scottish and En ...

James I
to that of
George IIGeorge II or 2 may refer to: People * George II of Antioch (seventh century AD) * George II of Armenia (late ninth century) * George II of Abkhazia (916–960) * Patriarch George II of Alexandria (1021–1051) * George II of Georgia (1072–1089) * ...
(between 1603 and 1760), 18 life peerages were created for women. Women, however, were excluded from sitting in the House of Lords, so it was unclear whether or not a life peerage would entitle a man to do the same. For over four centuries—if one excludes those who sat in
Cromwell's House of Lords The Other House (also referred to as the Upper House, House of Peers and House of Lords), established by the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell under the terms of the Humble Petition and Advice, was one of the two cha ...
(or Other House) during the
Interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally, it was the period of time between the reign of one monarch and the next (coming from Latin ''i ...
—no man had claimed a seat in the Lords by virtue of a life peerage. In 1856, it was thought necessary to add a peer learned in law to the House of Lords (which was the
final court of appeal The supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of ...
), without allowing the peer's heirs to sit in the House and swell its numbers. Sir James Parke, a
Baron Baron is a rank of nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of th ...
(judge) of the
Exchequer In the civil service The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transiti ...
, was created Baron Wensleydale for life, but the House of Lords concluded that the peerage did not entitle him to sit in the House of Lords. Lord Wensleydale was therefore appointed a hereditary peer. (In the event, he had no sons, so his peerage did not pass to an heir.) ''(See also Wensleydale Peerage Case (1856).)'' The Government introduced a bill to authorise the creation of two life peerages carrying seats in the House of Lords for judges who had held office for at least five years. The House of Lords passed it, but the bill was lost in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorpor ...
. In 1869, a more comprehensive life peerages bill was brought forward by
the Earl Russell
the Earl Russell
. At any one time, 28 life peerages could be in existence; no more than four were to be created in any one year. Life peers were to be chosen from senior judges, civil servants, senior officers of the
British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' us ...
or
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
, members of the House of Commons who had served for at least ten years, scientists, writers, artists, peers of Scotland, and peers of Ireland. (Peers of Scotland and Ireland did not all have seats in the House of Lords, instead electing a number of
representative peers In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some pref ...
.) The bill was rejected by the House of Lords at its
third reading A reading of a Bill Bill(s) may refer to: Common meanings * Banknote A banknote (often known as a bill (in the US and Canada), paper money, or simply a note) is a type of negotiable instrument, negotiable promissory note, made by a bank or ...
. Finally, the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1887 allowed senior judges to sit in the House of Lords as life peers, known as ''Lords of Appeal in Ordinary''. Those appointees who were not already members of the House of Lords were created life peers by the
Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 The Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 (39 & 40 Vict. c.59) was an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that altered the judicial functions of the House of Lords. The Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1887 allowed senior judges t ...
(for their titles, see the
list of law life peerages This is a list of life peerage A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary title Hereditary titles, in a general sense, are nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, ...
). Initially it was intended that peers created in this way would only sit in the House of Lords while serving their term as judges, but in 1887 (on the retirement of Lord Blackburn) the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1887 provided that former judges would retain their seats for life. This ended with the creation of the
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom The Supreme Court (initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical ...
in 2009.


Life Peerages Act 1958

The Life Peerages Act sanctions the regular granting of life peerages, but the power to appoint Lords of Appeal in Ordinary under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act was not derogated. The Act placed no limits on the number of peerages that the Sovereign may award, as was done by the Appellate Jurisdiction Act. A peer created under the Life Peerages Act has the right to sit in the House of Lords, provided that he or she is at least 21 years of age, is not suffering punishment upon conviction for
treason Treason is the crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsay: "Cr ...
, and is a citizen of the United Kingdom, or of a member of the
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, generally known simply as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 54 member states, almost all of which are former territories A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the ...

Commonwealth of Nations
, and is resident in the UK for tax purposes. Life baronies under the Life Peerages Act are created by the Sovereign but, in practice, are only granted when proposed by the
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
. Life peers created under the Life Peerages Act do not, unless they also hold ministerial positions, receive salaries. They are, however, entitled to an allowance of £300 for travel and accommodation for each day on which the peer "signs in" to the House, though the peer does not have to take part in the business of the House.


"Working peers"

From time to time, lists of "working peers" are published. They do not form a formal class, but represent the various political parties and are expected to regularly attend the House of Lords. Most new appointments of life peers fall into this category. Normally, the Prime Minister chooses only peers from his or her own party, but permits the leaders of opposition parties to recommend peers from their parties. The Prime Minister may determine the number of peers each party may propose; he or she may also choose to amend these recommendations, but by convention does not do so.


"People's peers"

Peers may be created on a ''non-partisan basis''. Formerly, nominations on merit alone were made by the Prime Minister, but this function was partially transferred to a new, non-statutory
House of Lords Appointments Commission The House of Lords Appointments Commission is an independent advisory non-departmental public bodyIn the United Kingdom, non-departmental public body (NDPB) is a classification applied by the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury, Treasury, the Scottish Gover ...
in 2000. Individuals recommended for the peerage by the Commission go on to become what have been described by some in the British media as "people's peers". The Commission also scrutinises party recommendations for working peerages to ensure propriety. The Prime Minister may determine the number of peers the Commission may propose, and also may amend the recommendations. Again, by convention, no amendment is made to the recommendations of the Commission.


Honours

Individuals may be created peers in various honours lists as rewards for achievement; these peers are not expected to attend the House of Lords regularly, but are at liberty to do so if they please. The
New Year Honours List The New Year Honours is a part of the British honours system The British honours system is a means of rewarding individuals' personal bravery, achievement, or service to the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ir ...
, the
Queen's Birthday Honours List The Birthday Honours, in some Commonwealth realms, mark the Queen's Official Birthday, reigning British monarch's official birthday by granting various individuals appointment into Order (honour), national or Dynastic order of knighthood, dynastic ...
(to mark the Sovereign's official birthday, the second Saturday in June), the
Dissolution Honours List Crown Honours Lists are lists of honours conferred upon citizens of the Commonwealth realms. The awards are presented by or in the name of the reigning monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, or her vice-regal representative. New Year Honours H ...
(to mark the dissolution of Parliament) and the Resignation Honours List (to mark the end of a Prime Minister's tenure) are all used to announce life peerage creations.


Public offices

Creations may be made for individuals on retirement from important public offices, such as Prime Minister, Speaker of the House of Commons or
Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Cat ...
or
York York is a cathedral city City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the monarch of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of the United ...
.
Sir Alec Douglas-Home Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Baron Home of the Hirsel, (; 2 July 1903 – 9 October 1995) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government i ...
, who had renounced his hereditary title of the 14th
Earl of Home Earl of Home ( ) is a title in the Peerage of Scotland A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary titles (and sometimes Life peer, non-hereditary titles) in a number of countries, and composed of assorted noble ranks ...

Earl of Home
on becoming Prime Minister, was the first former occupant of the office to receive a life barony.
Harold Wilson James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was a British politician who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The hea ...

Harold Wilson
,
James Callaghan Leonard James Callaghan, Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, (; 27 March 191226 March 2005), commonly known as Jim Callaghan, was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdo ...

James Callaghan
and
Margaret Thatcher Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (; 13 October 19258 April 2013), was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either ...

Margaret Thatcher
all took life peerages following their retirement from the House of Commons.
Edward Heath Sir Edward Richard George Heath (9 July 191617 July 2005) was a British politician who served as from 1970 to 1974 and from 1965 to 1975. Heath also served for 51 years as a from 1950 to 2001. Outside of politics, Heath was a , a musician, ...
and
John Major Sir John Major (born 29 March 1943) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997. He served in the Third Thatcher mi ...

John Major
chose not to become peers.
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. On his resig ...

Tony Blair
,
Gordon Brown James Gordon Brown (born 20 February 1951) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the h ...

Gordon Brown
,
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British politician, businessman, Lobbying, lobbyist, and author who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016. He was Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Memb ...
and
Theresa May Theresa Mary, Lady May (; ' Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as and from 2016 to 2019. May served as from 2010 to 2016 in the and has been the (MP) for in since . Ideologically, she identifies herself as ...

Theresa May
have yet to receive a peerage.
Harold Macmillan Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, (10 February 1894 – 29 December 1986) was a British Conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nat ...

Harold Macmillan
declined a peerage on leaving office, but over 20 years after retiring he accepted a second offer of the customary hereditary earldom for retiring Prime Ministers, as
Earl of Stockton Earl of Stockton is a title in the peerage of the United Kingdom The Peerage of the United Kingdom comprises most peerages created in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland after the Acts of Union 1800, Acts of Union in 1801, when it r ...
(1984); this was the last earldom to be offered outside the
Royal Family A royal family is the immediate family of kings/queens Queens is a borough of New York City, coextensive with Queens County, in the U.S. state of New York. It is the largest borough of New York City New York City (NYC), often simp ...
. While
David Lloyd George David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was a British statesman and Liberal Party The Liberal Party is any of many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinat ...

David Lloyd George
also waited a similar period for his earldom, most offers have been made and accepted shortly after retirement such as the Earls of Oxford and Asquith,
Baldwin Baldwin is a Germanic name, composed of the elements ''bald'' "bold" and ''win'' "friend". People * Baldwin (name) Places Canada * Baldwin, York Regional Municipality, Ontario * Baldwin, Ontario, in Sudbury District United States * Bal ...
,
Attlee Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, (3 January 18838 October 1967) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955. He was Deputy Prime Minister ...
and Avon. Many Cabinet members, including
Chancellors of the Exchequer Chancellor ( la, links=no, cancellarius) is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the ''cancellarii'' of Roman courts of justice—ushers, who sat at the ''cancelli'' or lattice wor ...
, Foreign Secretaries,
Home Secretaries The home secretary is a senior minister of the Crown Minister of the Crown is a formal constitutional term used in Commonwealth realms to describe a minister of the reigning sovereign or viceroy A viceroy () is an official who runs a ...
and Defence Secretaries, retiring since 1958 have generally been created life peers.
William Whitelaw William Stephen Ian Whitelaw, 1st Viscount Whitelaw, (28 June 1918 – 1 July 1999) was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative politician who served in a wide number of Cabinet positions, most notably as home secretary from 1979 to 198 ...
was created a hereditary viscount on the recommendation of Margaret Thatcher. Viscount Whitelaw died without male issue. Life peerages have generally been granted to Speakers of the House of Commons upon retirement since 1971, who sit as crossbenchers. (Previously, retiring Speakers had by custom received a hereditary peerage between 1780 and 1970, usually a
viscountcy A viscount ( , for male) or viscountess (, for female) is a Title#Aristocratic titles, title used in certain European countries for a nobility, noble of varying status. In many countries a viscount, and its historical equivalents, was a non-here ...
.) George Thomas was the only Speaker after 1971 who still received a hereditary peerage instead of a life peerage, being created Viscount Tonypandy, but he died without male issue. The convention was broken in 2020 when retiring Speaker
John Bercow John Simon Bercow (; born 19 January 1963) is a British politician who was Speaker of the House of Commons (United Kingdom), Speaker of the House of Commons from 2009 to 2019, and Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) ...
was not granted a life peerage, the first denial of a peerage to a former Speaker in over 200 years. At the time, Bercow was under investigation by the
Parliamentary Commissioner for StandardsThe Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is an officer of the British House of Commons The House of Commons (domestically known as the Commons) is the lower house and ''de facto'' primary chamber of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like ...
regarding allegations of bullying, with the government claiming that Bercow would fail a "propriety test" conducted for all nominees. Unusually, Bercow was nominated for a peerage by then-Leader of the Opposition and Labour leader
Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Bernard Corbyn (; born 26 May 1949) is a British politician who served as Leader of the Labour PartyThe title Leader of the Labour Party may refer to: *Leader of the Labour Party (Ireland) *Leader of the Labour Party (Netherlands) *Lea ...

Jeremy Corbyn
. The Prime Minister continues to recommend a small number of former public office-holders for peerages. This generally includes Chiefs of Defence Staff, Secretaries of the Cabinet, and Heads of the Diplomatic Service. Every Archbishop of Canterbury who has retired since 1958 has been created a life peer, as have most recent Archbishops of York on retirement. A small number of other bishops—such as
David Sheppard David Stuart Sheppard, Baron Sheppard of Liverpool (6 March 1929 – 5 March 2005) was a Church of England Bishop of Liverpool who played cricket for Sussex County Cricket Club, Sussex and English cricket team, England in his youth. Sheppard rema ...
of Liverpool and
Richard Harries Richard Douglas Harries, Baron Harries of Pentregarth, (born 2 June 1936) is a retired bishop of the Church of England and former British Army The British Army is the principal Army, land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of the ...
of Oxford—were ennobled on retiring. The
Lord Chamberlain The Lord Chamberlain or Lord Chamberlain of the Household is the most senior officer of the Royal Household of the United Kingdom The Royal Households of the United Kingdom are the collective departments that support members of the British ...
must be a member of the House of Lords and so is ennobled on appointment (if not already a peer), while most retiring Private Secretaries to the Queen and Governors of the Bank of England have also become peers. High judicial officers have sometimes been created life peers upon taking office. All Lord Chief Justices of England and Wales have, since 1958, been created life peers under the Life Peerages Act, with the exception of Lord Woolf, who was already a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary before becoming Lord Chief Justice. Similarly, Lord Reed was created a life peer in 2019 when he was appointed President of the Supreme Court, all of his predecessors in that role having already been created life peers as former Lords of Appeal in Ordinary. Life peerages may in certain cases be awarded to hereditary peers. After the
House of Lords Act 1999 The House of Lords Act 1999 (c. 34) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that was given Royal Assent on 11 November 1999. The Act Lords Reform, reformed the House of Lords, one of the chambers of Parliament. For ...
passed, several hereditary peers of the first creation, who had not inherited their titles but would still be excluded from the House of Lords by the Act, were created life peers:
Toby Low, 1st Baron Aldington Brigadier Toby Austin Richard William Low, 1st Baron Aldington, (25 May 1914 – 7 December 2000), known as Austin Richard William Low until he added 'Toby' as a forename by deed poll on 10 July 1957, was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conser ...

Toby Low, 1st Baron Aldington
;
Frederick James Erroll, 1st Baron Erroll of Hale Frederick James Erroll, 1st Baron Erroll of Hale, TD, PC (27 May 1914 – 14 September 2000) was a British Conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institution ...
;
Frank Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford Francis Aungier Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford, 1st Baron Pakenham, Baron Pakenham of Cowley (5 December 1905 – 3 August 2001), known to his family as Frank Longford and styled Lord Pakenham from 1945 to 1961, was a British politician and soc ...
and 1st Baron Pakenham; and
Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon (7 March 193013 January 2017) was a British photographer and filmmaker who married Princess Margaret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II. Early life Armstrong-Jones was the only so ...
. None of the peers of the first creation who were members of the Royal Family was granted a life peerage, as they had all declined. Life peerages were also granted to former Leaders of the House of Lords, including John Julian Ganzoni, 2nd Baron Belstead;
Peter Carington, 6th Baron Carrington Peter Alexander Rupert Carington, 6th Baron Carrington, Baron Carington of Upton, (6 June 1919 – 9July 2018) was a British Conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that de ...
;
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury Robert Michael James Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury, Baron Gascoyne-Cecil, (born 30 September 1946), is a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative politician. From 1979 United Kingdom general election, 1979 to 1987 United Kingdom ...
(better known as Viscount Cranborne and Lord Cecil of Essendon, having attended the Lords by virtue of a
writ of acceleration A writ in acceleration, commonly called a writ of acceleration, was a type of writ of summons that enabled the eldest son and heir apparent An heir apparent is a person who is first in an order of succession An order of succession or right of ...
);
George Jellicoe, 2nd Earl Jellicoe George Patrick John Rushworth Jellicoe, 2nd Earl Jellicoe, Baron Jellicoe of Southampton, (4 April 1918 – 22 February 2007) was a British politician, diplomat and businessman. Lord Jellicoe was the only son but sixth and youngest child o ...

George Jellicoe, 2nd Earl Jellicoe
;
Malcolm Shepherd, 2nd Baron Shepherd Malcolm Newton Shepherd, 2nd Baron Shepherd, Baron Shepherd of Spalding (27 September 1918 – 5 April 2001), was a British Labour politician and peer who served as Leader of the House of Lords The Leader of the House of Lords is a member o ...
; and
David Hennessy, 3rd Baron Windlesham David James George Hennessy, 3rd Baron Windlesham and Baron Hennessy, (28 January 1932 – 21 December 2010), was a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom who held visiting professorships at various universities. Early life Henne ...
. As part of the celebrations to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Life Peerages Act,
Gareth Williams, Baron Williams of Mostyn Gareth Wyn Williams, Baron Williams of Mostyn, (5 February 1941 – 20 September 2003), was a Welsh barrister and Labour politician who was Leader of the House of Lords, Lord President of the Council and a member of the Cabinet of the United ...
was voted by the current members of the House of Lords as the outstanding life peer since the creation of the life peerage.


Number of life peers

there are 687 life peers eligible to vote in the House of Lords. This includes 218 Conservative, 176 Labour, 83 Liberal Democrat and 153 crossbench peers. There are also 10 others representing 4 other parties, 43 non-affiliated, 3 peers labelling themselves as "Independent" but close to a party, and the Lord Speaker. In addition, there are about 70 life peers who have retired from the House of Lords since 2010, as well as several who are otherwise ineligible to vote or removed for non-attendance. The Appellate Jurisdiction Act originally provided for the appointment of two Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, who would continue to serve while holding judicial office, though in 1887, they were permitted to continue to sit in the House of Lords for life, under the style and dignity of baron. The number of Lords of Appeal in Ordinary was increased from time to time – to three in 1882, to four in 1891, to six in 1913, to seven in 1919, to nine in 1947, to 11 in 1968 and to 12 in 1994. These provisions were repealed by the
Constitutional Reform Act 2005 The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (c 4) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and m ...
which created the
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom The Supreme Court (initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical ...
. The rate of creation of life peerages under the Life Peerages Act has been fluctuating, with a high rate being most common right after a new party is elected to government. Consequently,
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British politician, businessman, Lobbying, lobbyist, and author who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016. He was Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Memb ...
and
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. On his resig ...

Tony Blair
have created life peerages at high rates, at 40.5 and 35.7 peerages per year respectively. However, current prime minister
Boris Johnson Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician and writer serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of govern ...

Boris Johnson
has the highest rate of creations, at 41 peerages per year (as of 27 July 2021). Conservative Prime Ministers have created on average 21 life peers per year in office, Labour Prime Ministers an average of 27 per year. In absolute terms, the Conservatives (in 37 years) have created slightly more (766 out of 1416, as of September 2019) life peerages than Labour (in 24 years); Conservative Prime Ministers (especially Macmillan) also created the vast majority (52) of the 59 ''hereditary'' peerages created since 1958. In 1999, there were 172 Conservative and 160 Labour life peers in the House of Lords, and by 4 January 2010, there were 141 Conservative and 207 Labour life peers in the House of Lords. The hereditary element of the House of Lords, however, was much less balanced. In 1999, for example, immediately before most hereditary peers were removed by the House of Lords Act, there were 350 Conservative hereditary peers, compared with 19 Labour peers and 23 Liberal Democrat peers.


Disclaiming

The
Peerage Act 1963 The Peerage Act 1963 (c. 48) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, ...
allows the holder of an hereditary peerage to disclaim their title for life. There is no such provision for life peers. The
Coalition Government A coalition government is a form of government in which political parties cooperate to form a government. The usual reason for such an arrangement is that no single party has achieved an absolute majority after an election An election is a ...
's draft proposal for Lords reform in 2011 "provides that a person who holds a life peerage may at any time disclaim that peerage by writing to the Lord Chancellor. The person nd their spouse and childrenwill be divested of all rights and interests attaching to
hat A collection of 18th and 19th century men's beaver felt hats A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safet ...

hat
peerage." This proposal did not become law. In 2014 under the House of Lords Reform Act it became possible for peers to resign from the House of Lords (without disclaiming the peerage).


Titles and forms of address

Most life peers take a title based on their
surname In some cultures, a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of one's personal name A personal name, or full name, in onomastic Onomastics or onomatology is the study of the etymology, history, and use of proper names. An ''wikt ...
, either alone (e.g. Baron Hattersley) or in combination with a
placename Toponymy, toponymics, or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of ''toponyms Toponymy, also toponymics or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of ''wikt:t ...
(known as a
territorial designation In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to ...
) to differentiate them from others of the same surname (e.g. Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws). Surnames need not be used at all if desired.
Ian Paisley Ian Richard Kyle Paisley, Baron Bannside, (6 April 1926 – 12 September 2014) was a Northern Irish loyalist Loyalism, in the United Kingdom, its British Overseas Territories, overseas territories and its British Empire, former colonies ...
, for example, opted for the title ''Lord Bannside'', and
John Gummer John Selwyn Gummer, Baron Deben, (born 26 November 1939) is a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. * ...
chose the title ''Lord Deben''. There are also occasions when someone's surname is not appropriate as a title, such as Michael Lord (now ''Lord Framlingham'') and Michael Bishop, Baron Glendonbrook, Michael Bishop (now ''Lord Glendonbrook''). The formal style for a life peer is as follows (John Smith and Mary Smith refer to any name; London to any
territorial designation In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to ...
): : In the case of a life baron: The Right Honourable, The Rt Hon The Lord Smith (of London) (''e.g.'' The Rt Hon David Owen, The Lord Owen)
''or'' The Rt Hon John, Lord Smith (of London) (''e.g.'' The Rt Hon David Steel, David, Lord Steel of Aikwood) : In the case of a life baroness: The Rt Hon The Lady Smith (of London) (''e.g.'' The Rt Hon Margaret Thatcher, The Lady Thatcher)
''or'' The Rt Hon Mary, Lady Smith (of London) (''e.g.'' Betty Boothroyd, The Rt Hon Betty, Baroness Boothroyd) Life peers are often mistakenly called 'Lord' or 'Lady' before their names (''e.g.'' "Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber") following their ennoblement, but this is incorrect since the correct form should be one of those shown above.Burke's Peerage
/ref> Only the daughters of earls, marquesses and dukes, and the younger sons of marquesses and dukes are properly referred to by the courtesy title of Lord or Lady Firstname Lastname.


See also

*Peerages in the United Kingdom *Peerage of the United Kingdom *List of life peerages: List of life peerages (1958–1979), 1958–1979, List of life peerages (1979–1997), 1979–1997, List of life peerages (1997–2010), 1997–2010, List of life peerages (2010–present), 2010–present *List of law life peerages *Roll of the Peerage *Cash for Honours *Crossbencher#United Kingdom, Crossbencher *List of Related Life Peers


Notes


References

* * * * * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Life Peer Life peers, * Peerages in the United Kingdom