It’s time to replace the House of Lords with a House of Citizens

Free from party politics, we can trust a House of Citizens to put people first in parliament

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The 858 Project is a movement to make our democracy and parliament fit for purpose

Trust and listen to ordinary people

  1. A House of Citizens would upgrade our democracy

    The House of Lords is a hangover from our feudal past. Replacing it with a House of Citizens will give us a democracy we can be proud of.

  2. Guaranteed to represent everybody

    A House of Citizens would be a mirror to our society making it the first chamber in the world to be 50% women and always reflecting the wider population in characteristics such as age, disability and so on.

  3. In touch with day-to day reality of life in the UK

    A House of Citizens would be composed of and hear from ordinary people working and living on the frontline and with real experiences of the issues it discusses.

  4. Guided by experts, on tap but not on top

    A House of Citizens will be able to draw on any and all expertise currently available in or to parliament. There will be no loss of expertise.

  5. A counterweight to political corruption

    You can’t apply to join a House of Citizens and you cannot extend your two year term. No party machines or networks of patronage can improve your chances of becoming a member and expect loyalty in return.

  6. A second chamber that complements the Commons

    The House of Citizens would have the same constitutional role as the current House of Lords, leaving the Commons unchanged with its own directly elected MPs and its status as the ultimate repository of democratic authority in the United Kingdom.

House of Citizens explained

Find out more about how a House of Citizens would work in our policy document

Download the policy document

Photo showing tables of people in discussion with each other

“The public trusts ordinary citizens four times more than politicians”

How would a House of Citizens work?

What would its powers be?

Our starting point is that it would have powers equivalent to those currently held by the House of Lords.

The fundamental role of holding government to account - shaping, challenging and, if necessary, rejecting government bills.

As a second chamber, as well as the power to initiate legislation, it should be able to instigate both autonomous citizens’ assemblies on topics of national interest and independent public inquiries into matters of significant public importance.

How would people be selected?

The members of the House of Citizens would be selected using a three-stage democratic lottery.

Stage 1. Official invitations are sent to 30,000 citizens, selected by democratic lottery, inviting people to register their interest in becoming a member of the House of Citizens, and inviting them to a day of information and discussion.

Stage 2. After the information day, those that accept the invitation are requested to provide some socio-economic and demographic details, such as:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Where they live
  • Education level and/or average regular income
  • Ethnicity
  • Disability status

Stage 3. An independent body, such as the Electoral Commission, in collaboration with the Office of National Statistics, would then be responsible for guaranteeing the fair selection by democratic lottery of the people from this group in such a way that it represents the make-up of people from all across the UK

How big would it be?

The 2012-13 House of Lords Bill proposed capping Lords at 450 members. We believe this should be the absolute maximum size of a House of Citizens.

One option would be to have 325 members, ie one person from every two geographical constituencies of the UK Parliament. This number would change whenever the number of constituencies changes.

Another option would be to use population data produced by the Office of National Statistics to select 450 members in proportion to the number of people living in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the nine regions of England with the composition changing as the population changes.

Restore trust in our democracy

It’s time for a House of Citizens

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