Saturday, 5 November 2011

The Steps of the Throne

If you watch broadcasts of the House of Lords - you may see individuals sitting on the steps of the throne. Often these are Peers who wish to listen to a debate - but don't want to participate (Technically the steps are not part of the House for the purposes of proceedings).

The Companion to the Standing Orders (referred so simply as "The Companion") sets out who is entitled to sit on the steps -

· members of the House of Lords in receipt of a writ of summons, including those who have not taken their seat or the oath and those who have leave of absence;

· members of the House of Lords who are disqualified from sitting or voting in the House as Members of the European Parliament or as holders of disqualifying judicial office;

· hereditary peers who were formerly members of the House and who were excluded from the House by the House of Lords Act 1999;

· the eldest child (which includes an adopted child) of a member of the House (or the eldest son where the right was exercised before 27 March 2000);

· peers of Ireland;

· diocesan bishops of the Church of England who do not yet have seats in the House of Lords;

· retired bishops who have had seats in the House of Lords;

· Privy Counsellors;

· Clerk of the Crown in Chancery;

· Black Rod and his Deputy;

· the Dean of Westminster.