Are eight times as many Lords over 90 than under 40?

9 July 2012

"There are eight times as many members of the House of Lords over 90 as there are under 40."

Nick Clegg, House of Commons, 9 July 2012

Nick Clegg faced the wrath of MPs from both sides of the House when he returned to the Commons today to defend his controversial proposals for an elected House of Lords.

Outlining his case for change, the Deputy Prime Minsiter argued that life peerages made the current system "unsustainable" with as many as eight times as many peers over the age of 90 as there are under 40.

But is the upper chamber quite as 'experienced' as Mr Clegg thinks?


Figures on House of Lords membership are compiled by the House of Lords Library and are occasionally published in Standard Notes. The most recent of these was published in April this year and is updated as of 4 July 2012.

The note does provide us with some statistics on the age of members, however they only provide detail up to those simply 'under 50' and those 'over 80':

The source of the claim actually dates back to October 2011, when the Joint Committee on the Draft House of Lords Reform Bill produced more estimates from the House of Lords Library, this time in more detail.

Sure enough, as of 12 October 2011, there were 16 peers over the age of 90, compared to just two under 40. The youngest peer continues to be Lord Wei, who celebrated his 35th birthday in January this year.


The available evidence backs up the Deputy Prime Minister's striking statistic. While we can't be sure the figures are exactly the same as they were last October, the point he made in today's debate certainly checks out on the most recent data available.

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