8 July 2021
Harriett Baldwin calls for reform of the House of Lords

Harriett Baldwin calls for reform of the House of Lords which, because of the rules of primogeniture, effectively reserves an eighth of the seats for men.

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire) (Con)

I know that my right hon. Friend and his colleagues are all passionate feminists, and I am sure that he would agree that it is difficult to justify the fact that an eighth of the seats in the upper House are reserved effectively for men, because of the laws of primogeniture and the hereditary peers. Does he have plans to reform that anomaly? (902364)

Michael Gove (The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office)

My hon. Friend makes a very good point. We do not currently have plans to do that, but she makes a fair point. As everyone knows, for the remaining hereditary peerages in the House of Lords, when an hereditary peer in any one of the party or Cross-Bench groups passes away, there is a by-election among those who are eligible, but at the moment in nearly every case the franchise and candidacy is restricted to men. That is something we should definitely look at.