The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Bills can be introduced into either the House of Lords or the House of Commons and members of the Lords may also take on roles as Government Ministers. The House of Lords has its own support services, separate from the Commons, including the House of Lords Library.
Unlike the elected House of Commons, most new members of the House of Lords are appointed. Membership of the House of Lords is made up of Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal. There are currently 26 Lords Spiritual who sit in the Lords by virtue of their ecclesiastical role in the established Church of England. The Lords Temporal make up the rest of the membership; of these, the majority are life peers who are appointed by the Monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister, or on the advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission.
Membership was once a birthright of hereditary peers. Following a series of reforms, 92 members (as of 1 July 2011 (2011-07-01)[update]) still sit by virtue of a hereditary peerage. Since the vast majority of hereditary peerages can only be inherited by males, only one of these 92 is currently a woman. The number of members is not fixed; as of 11 June 2012 (2012-06-11)[update] the House of Lords has 763 members (not including 49 who are on leave of absence or are otherwise disqualified from sitting), unlike the House of Commons, which has a 650-seat fixed membership.