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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 May 2006, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
Paying for a peers' speaker
House of Lords
The House of Lords looks forward to new authority in their debates
Peers have been debating the worth of the soon to be created position of "lord speaker".

The role emerged as part of the constitutional changes drawn up by Tony Blair in 2003, which included the abolition of the Lord Chancellor post, traditionally responsible for presiding over the affairs of the House of Lords.

Members of the upper house have voted in favour of an annual salary of 101,668, as recommended by the Senior Salaries Review Board and adopted by the committee investigating the new post.

They rejected a series of amendments to offer a wage which is roughly equal to that received by a cabinet minister in the House of Lords.

Not all peers thought the benefits of the job should be quite so financially generous, as Earl Ferrers pushed for just 29,946.

And Lord Barnett and Lord Trefgarne tabled amendments calling for salaries of 79,382 - that received by the Chairman of Committees - and 50,384 respectively.

The higher sum agreed remains less than the Speaker in the House of Commons earns. Michael Martin currently receives 74, 902 on top of the 59,095 he is paid as a Member of Parliament.

Responsibilities

The difference in salary is partially down to the reduced responsibilities of the Lord Speaker as, for example, decisions over who speaks during starred questions will continue to be made by the House as a whole.

And the House of Lords has a tradition of self-regulation that does not exist in the rowdier lower chamber.

Lords are not paid a salary for their work in the House but instead get a daily subsistence allowance of 60 (rising to 120 if a peer stays overnight in London).

The Lord Speaker will be elected by 30th June under new standing orders put forward by Leader of the Lords Baroness Amos.

The Lord Speaker would serve for a period of five years and can be re-elected just one time. A simple majority vote in the Lords could be used to remove the Lord Speaker from office.

Reforms agreed with peers after protracted discussions included proposals for the Lords to elect their own presiding officer.

SEE ALSO:
Lords agree to have own speaker
31 Jan 06 |  UK Politics


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