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Parliament in the United Kingdom

4. The House of Lords

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the role of the House of Lords, focusing in particular on: (i) the key differences between the House of Commons and House of Lords; (ii) the weaknesses of the Lords compared to the Commons, the impact of the 1911 and 1949 Parliament Acts, and the various parliamentary conventions that curtail the power of the Lords; (iii) the strength of the Lords compared to the Commons, including differences in parliamentary procedure and the possibility of ignoring conventions; and (iv) a recent example of the Lords having a material impact on legislation -– when they voted to delay tax credit legislation in 2015.


In this course, Dr Louise Thompson (University of Manchester) explores the role of parliament in the United Kingdom, focusing in particular on the relationship the executive and the legislative branches of government. In the first module, we think about when and how conflict occurs between government and parliament, and why it matters. After that, in the second module, we think about divisions in parliament and the ability of parliament to say no to government. In the third module, we explore the importance and role of political parties, before turning in the fourth module to the role of the House of Lords. Finally, in the fifth module, we think about Brexit and what it can tells us about the relationship between government and parliament.


Louise Thompson is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Manchester. Her research focuses on the UK Parliament, particularly the legislative process, committees, political parties and public engagement within Parliament. Her wider research interests are in legislative studies, British politics and constitutional reform. Louise has published widely on the impact of parliament on government legislation and continues to research in this area.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Thompson, L. (2020, February 21). Parliament in the United Kingdom - The House of Lords [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Thompson, L. "Parliament in the United Kingdom – The House of Lords." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 21 Feb 2020,