These figures for the size of House Of Commons, House of Lords, and the EU parliament are all correct

7th Aug 2020

Claim

The EU parliament has 705 members, all elected.

Conclusion

This is correct.

 

The UK parliament has 1458 members.

 

The combined total of the House of Commons and House of Lords is 1458 if you include recently announced Life Peers.

 

650 of these are elected, 808 are unelected, and 36 were just appointed and include the Prime Minister’s brother and friends.

 

The 650 members of The House of Commons were elected to their positions by members of the public. Members of the House of Lords are elected by the Prime Minister, the Lords Appointment Commission, or other peers. A recent announcement of new peers did include Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s brother.

Claim 1 of 3

A Facebook post comparing the EU parliament and the UK parliament has been shared thousands of times.

The post says the EU parliament has 705 members, all elected, while the UK parliament has 1458 members - 650 elected and 808 unelected, 36 of whom were just picked by the prime minister and include his friends and brother. 

It is true there are 705 members of the EU parliament, and Members of European Parliament (MEPs) are elected into these positions. All countries in the EU parliament elect representatives through a proportional voting system, though the methods differ.

However, not everyone tasked with shaping European law is elected by the public. The European parliament is one of three legislative arms of the European Union. Another arm, the European Commission, whose members aren’t elected by the public but can propose laws and allocate funding, has previously been criticised by some for being undemocratic.

It is also true there are 650 members of the House of Commons, Parliament’s lower house and they are elected by the public. At the time of writing, there are currently 772 members of the house lords. When the recently announced 36 new members of the House are added, this will rise to 808. It’s true that the new 36 include Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s brother Jo Johnson.

Members of the house of lords are not appointed by the public and are divided between Lords Spiritual - chosen Church Of England Bishops, and Lords temporal - life peers and hereditary peers. Life peers are notable individuals who are put forward by the Prime Minister or the House of Lords Appointments Commission, with leaders of other political parties allowed to suggest additions for political balance. Their given title, Baron or Baroness, cannot be passed to any descendants.

Hereditary peers are peers who have inherited their title. They used to make up almost all of the House of Lords, until the 1999 House of Lords Act, which removed all but 92 hereditary peers from the House Of Lords, 90 of whom were elected by fellow hereditary lords and represent political parties or are cross-bench. If a  hereditary peer in the House of Lords dies, steps down, or is removed from their role, a successor to that space is voted by other hereditary members of the House Of Lords. The two other roles are held by the incumbent Earl Marshall and Lord Great Chamberlain, which are roles passed down hereditarily.   There are currently 26 Lords Spiritual, 87 accepted hereditary peers, and 659 life peers.

The House of Lords works to check and challenge the work of parliament. The Lords cannot stop bills proposed in parliament passing into law, but they can question and add amendments them. The House of Lord’s role in the democratic process has been subjected to much scrutiny.