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Its membership consisted entirely of Peers of the Realm and aristocrats, who held seats in the House for life. All peerages above the rank of Baron from the three original planets of the Star Kingdom held two seats in the Lords: one for the current holder of the peerage and another "cadet seat" for his or her heir. Also, peers of the realm who had more than one title of nobility were entitled to have as many as two seats (and votes) with their respective cadet seats in the House. "Life peers" (members of the nobility whose titles and dignities cannot be inherited) were excluded from the House of Lords.
In the event that a member of the House was unavailable for voting, he or she could allow a proxy to vote in his or her name, provided certain conditions and procedures were previously met.
No elections were held for the Lords; new members of the House were created by the Crown with the consent and approval of a majority of the House of Commons, thus giving the lower house a say in the composition of the upper house. However, the membership of the Lords could not be increased over 10% between any two general elections, and the Lords reserved the right to refuse to seat a newly-created peer of the realm.
The House of Lords was the senior branch of the Manticoran Parliament, as the Star Kingdom's Constitution mandated that the Prime Minister must be a member of the House and command a majority of its members to hold the office. In addition, the Lords held the "power of the purse", which meant that they alone could initiate any budget, tax or appropriation bill, as well as approve its final form, which included the power to override any amendments introduced by the Commons. However, with the fall of the High Ridge government, the Grantville government used its majority to introduce a transitional bill that over the course of 5 T-years would transfer its "power of the purse" to the Commons.
The presiding officer of the House of Lords was the Speaker, who was responsible for presiding the House's sessions and maintaining order between its members. Other members of the House staff included the Sergeant-at-Arms.