Composition of committees

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40.9There is in general no limit to the number of members who may be named of a committee.1 Committees may be enlarged by the addition of members appointed in the same way as those originally nominated. Other than in exceptional circumstances, the maximum number of Lords Members on a sub-committee is 12.2

There is no firm rule as to the political composition of most committees.3 However, the Government have a majority over the other political parties on public bill committees and special public bill committees, the balance being held by the Crossbenchers.4

It is considered desirable for a Lords Member to serve on only one sessional investigative select committee at any one time.5


  1. 1. The Lords membership of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments is fixed at 7 by SO No 73, and of the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills is fixed at 12 by SO No 51. The size of committees on opposed private bills and provisional order confirmation bills is fixed by Private Business Standing Orders 104 and 185 respectively.
  2. 2. LJ (1992–93) 165; ibid (2007–08) 725.
  3. 3. Following the 2010 election, the Committee of Selection agreed that the coalition Government in the 2010–15 Parliament should not have a majority on any committee or body appointed by the Committee of Selection (see Committee of Selection, First Report of Session 2010–12, Introductions, HL 4; LJ (2010–12) 33).
  4. 4. Following a recommendation of the Select Committee on the Committee Work of the House (LJ (1992–93) 164).
  5. 5. Procedure Committee, Fifth Report of Session 2013–14, Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee; Written Answers and Statements; Select Committee Membership; Maiden Speeches in Hansard, HL 167; LJ (2013–14) 1814.