(69)  House of Lords reform and the Treaty of Union

On 20 October 1999 the Committee of Privileges of the House of Lords ruled that the House of Lords Bill (now the House of Lords Act 1999) did not breach Article XXII of the Treaty of Union of Scotland and England 1707 by removing the right of all the peers of Scotland to sit in the House (Lord Gray’s Motion, Times, 12 November 1999). Article XXII contained no words of entrenchment making it fundamental or unalterable in all time coming, and it had been assumed since 1707 that the Parliament of Great Britain and subsequently the United Kingdom could change the Article. Nor did the Bill discriminate against Scottish peers in its abolition of the right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords; it applied to all hereditary peers equally.