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British Lawmakers Vote to Make House of Lords 100% Elected

Britain's lower house of parliament has voted to reform the upper chamber, the House of Lords, and end a 600-year-old tradition.

The House of Commons decided Wednesday to make the House of Lords fully elected.

Since its founding in the 1300s, members of the upper chamber have been appointed, usually by the party or a parliamentary commission. Appointments are for life. Some members inherited their seats.

House of Commons leader Jack Straw called Wednesday's vote to reform the system a dramatic result in the history of the British parliament.

Prime Minister Tony Blair voted for a compromise 50-50 split between appointed and elected members.

The issue now goes to the House of Lords itself for consideration.

There are currently more than 700 members of the House of Lords. The body does not make laws, but has the power to change legislation passed by the lower house. It could also decide to delay new laws.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.