There is no official definition of the role of a Crossbencher. What follows are
extracts from two reports in which the authors describe their
understanding and perception of the role of the Crossbenchers in the business
of the House.
The reports are
1. 'A House for the Future',
published in January 2000 by the Royal Commission on the Reform
of the House of Lords, chaired by Lord Wakeham.
The Royal Commission was set up in February 1999 to make recommendations about
the role, functions and composition of the House of the Lords in the future.
The scope of the research was wide and in assessing the historical development,
present roles and future of the House, the Royal Commission detailed their
understanding of the unique role played by the Crossbechers. Extracts from the
'A House for the Future' which make particular reference to the role of the
Crossbenchers are found below.
2. 'Review of
parliamentary pay and allowances', Report No. 48, Volume
2, published in March 2001 by the Review Body on Senior Salaries,
chaired by Sir Michael Perry, CBE.
On 6 October 2000 the Prime Minister asked the Review Body on Senior Salaries
to carry out a review of parliamentary pay and allowances. This followed the
1996 Review Body's recommendation, accepted by the Government, that
parliamentary pay should be reviewed every 3 years, starting in 2000. The
report looks at the different political roles of the Members of the Lords as
well as the changing nature of some of these roles. The particular role profile
that the report believes most Crossbenchers fall into is that of
specialist backbench peers