A question of expertise: the House of Lords and welfare policy

Bochel, Hugh and Defty, Andrew (2010) A question of expertise: the House of Lords and welfare policy. Parliamentary Affairs, 63 (1). pp. 66-84. ISSN 0031-2290

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Full text URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pa/gsp019

Abstract

The expertise of its members is often cited as one of the distinctive features of the House of Lords. In particular it is frequently argued that because of its composition, and in particular the existence of the Crossbench Peers, debates in the Lords are more informed than in the Commons. Peers, it has been claimed, bring professional experience and expertise to the scrutiny of legislation, and have the time to maintain their expertise, in contrast to the Commons, where MPs, because of the demands of re-election and constituency business, are sometimes seen as being required to know a little about a wide range of subjects. Moreover, the presumed expertise of the Upper House has also been central to debates about the reform of the House of Lords, with assertions that any further reform should retain the Lords’ ability to provide distinctive and informed scrutiny.

Drawing on a series of interviews with a large sample of MPs and Peers this article seeks to examine what is meant by parliamentary expertise by focusing on one particular policy area – welfare. It seeks to explore the nature of parliamentary expertise on welfare in both Houses, and suggests that in the field of welfare the Upper House may, in fact, be less expert than the House of Commons.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Parliament, House of Lords, Social policy, Welfare, Expertise
Subjects:L Social studies > L230 UK Government/Parliamentary Studies
L Social studies > L410 UK Social Policy
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:2245
Deposited By: Hugh Bochel
Deposited On:26 Mar 2010 12:16
Last Modified:17 Jul 2014 12:34

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