Originally Posted by Ish
I believe - although I could be wrong - that the only hereditary peers who now sit in the House of Lords are people who were created hereditary peers themselves (they didn't inherit it), and then had a life peerage bestowed upon them when the House was reformed.
Or is that completely wrong?
I can't seem to find a reply to this, so I shall take the liberty.
The House of Lords Act, that came into effect in 1999, removed the right of all but 92 hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords (based purely on their hereditary peerage). Two of that number were ex-officio (The Earl Marshal and the Lord Great Chamberlain). That leaves ninety, who were elected from among the remaining hereditary peers, with proportional allocation between the political parties and cross-benchers. The term 'elected hereditary', is now in common use to refer to this group.
Along with those, there were those hereditary peers of first creation who were automatically offered life peerages and thereby remain in the House. So the grand total can be calculated by adding the 92 remaining hereditary peers and the hereditary peers of first creation (there were four, with only one still living) in addition, all former leaders of the House of Lords were offered hereditary peerages (there were six, with two still living).
So that is at present, the maximum number of hereditary peers who may sit in the House of Lords (not exactly an insignificant number).
On a related point, Her Majesty is perfectly free to create any type of peerage, at any time, without interference from the government. If she so wishes, she may create a Dukedom and seventy hereditary Baronies tomorrow. Of course, that won't happen, but it doesn't for a moment mean that it can't.