Lords Whips have the same constitutional position as departmental ministers. Their role in the House of Lords is different from that of Whips in the Commons, which is predominantly party management.
A Lords Whip has an active role at the despatch box promoting and defending departmental policy which involves:
- answering questions
- responding to debates
- taking through primary and secondary legislation
If the department concerned does not have a departmental minister in the House of Lords, all of that department’s business will fall to a Whip.
Current role holder: The Rt Hon Lord Henley
Lord Henley was appointed as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions on 21 December 2016, and as a Lord in Waiting (Government Whip) on 21 November 2016. He is a Conservative member of the House of Lords.
Lord Henley served as Minister of State for Crime Prevention and Anti-Social Behaviour Reduction from September 2011 to September 2012. He served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2010 to 2011.
Lord Henley held a number of positions in the previous Conservative government, including Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Social Security, the Department for Employment and the Ministry of Defence. He was also Minister of State for the Department of Education and Employment. In Opposition, he served as Chief Whip, Deputy Speaker and was Opposition spokesperson for Legal Affairs and Justice.
He was educated at Clifton College, Bristol and Durham University. He was called to the Bar in 1977.