representative peers

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At the time of the negotiations for Union in 1707, there were more than 130 Scottish peers to 170 English ones. To unite them in one House would have given the Scots disproportionate influence. By the Act of Union, Scotland was awarded 16 representative peers, to be elected by their colleagues before each session. The practice soon developed of circulating government and opposition lists and, under normal circumstances, the Scottish representative peers were useful allies of government in the House of Lords. A similar formula was adopted at the Union with Ireland in 1801.

Subjects: British History.

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