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House of Lords Survey

Published:13 December 2007
Fieldwork:18 - 23 October 2007
Source:University College London (UCL)
Keywords:Constitution, Electoral system, House of Lords, Parliament, Trust
(Click on keywords to find related Research)

Ipsos MORI's recent survey for the Constitution Unit at University College London (UCL) asked which factors the public think are important to the legitimacy of the House of Lords. Most important to people is that the House makes decisions in accordance with public opinion (37%), followed by considering legislation carefully / in detail (29%) and the appointments process being trustworthy (28%).

Those who know at least a fair amount about Parliament place less importance on public opinion in decision-making (32% compared to 40% of those who know little about Parliament), and are more likely than the 'uninformed' to say that there should be 'independent' members who do not represent parties (31% compared to 21%).

Slightly more people think the Lords carry out their policy role well than the Commons (49% compared to 46%). Those who feel they know about Parliament are more positive about the role of the House of Lords than the 'uninformed' (64% compared to 42%)- although there is no difference in opinion between the two groups about the process for choosing members (31% compared to 29%).

Topline Results

  • Results are based on 2,044 adults aged 16+ in the UK, interviewed face-to-face in home between 18-23 October 2007.
  • Where applicable, trend data is included.
  • Results are based on all respondents unless otherwise stated.
  • Data are weighted to the profile of the population.
  • An asterisk (*) indicates a finding of less than 0.5% but greater than zero.
  • Where percentages do not add up to exactly 100% this may be due to computer rounding, the exclusion of "don't knows" or to multiple answers.

Q1 How much, if anything, do you feel you know about the Westminster Parliament?

  Oct 2007 Nov 2006 (note 1) Dec 2003 (note 2)
  % % %
A great deal 4 4 3
A fair amount 31 34 30
Not very much 42 46 50
Nothing at all 20 15 17
Don't know 2 1 1
Know at least a fair amount 35 38 33

Now thinking about the House of Lords …

The House of Lords debates the issues of the day and proposals for new laws, like the House of Commons. Most laws except those concerning tax and finance must be passed by both houses, and sometimes proposals are significantly changed by the House of Lords before they become law.

Q2 For each statement I am going to read out about the House of Lords, some of which are true at the moment, and some of which are not, please tell me how important it is to you in determining how legitimate the House of Lords is as a Chamber of Parliament?

  Very important Fairly important Not very important Not at all important Don't know
  % % % % %
that there is a fair balance of seats between the political parties in the House 41 37 8 3 11
that there are numerous independent members who do not represent political parties 36 37 11 4 12
that the House makes political decisions in accordance with public opinion 48 29 10 4 10
that when members are appointed to the House the appointments process is trustworthy 69 18 3 2 9
that some members are elected by the public 45 31 11 4 10
that many members are expert in their field 49 33 7 2 9
that the House considers legislation carefully and in detail 66 21 3 1 9

Q3a And which one of these is most important to you in determining how legitimate the House of Lords is as a Chamber of Parliament?

Q3b Which one of these is second most important?

  Q3a Most Q3b Second Q3a/b Combined
  % % %
that the House makes political decisions in accordance with public opinion 23 14 37
that the House considers legislation carefully and in detail 17 12 29
that when members are appointed to the House the appointments process is trustworthy 14 14 28
that there are numerous independent members who do not represent political parties 11 13 24
that there is a fair balance of seats between the political parties in the House 10 11 21
that some members are elected by the public 9 12 21
that many members are expert in their field 6 13 19

Q4 To what extent do you agree or disagree that … ?

  Strongly agree Tend to agree Neither agree nor disagree Tend to disagree Strongly disagree Don't know
  % % % % % %
the House of Commons generally carries out its policy role well 7 39 22 15 4 12
the House of Lords generally carries out its policy role well 8 41 24 9 3 15
the process for choosing members of the House of Commons is a good one 15 40 19 10 4 13
the process for choosing members of the House of Lords is a good one 5 25 24 19 10 18

Notes

  1. Results are based on 1,490 adults aged 18+ in the UK. Interviewed face-to-face in home between 23-28 November 2006.
  2. Results are based on interviews conducted face-to-face with 1,976 adults aged 18+ in Great Britain between 11-17 December 2003.
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Client

University College London (UCL)

Meg Russell
The Constitution Unit
Department of Political Science
University College London (UCL)
w: www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/staff/meg.html

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