The Act resulted largely from the protests of one man, Labour politician Tony Benn, who had been disqualified as an MP on inheriting the title of Viscount Stansgate. He and his political opponents, Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Quintin Hogg, were among the first to take advantage of it.
Since the abolition of the general right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, it is no longer necessary for hereditary peers to renounce their peerages in order to sit in the House of Commons. In 2001 John Thurso became the first hereditary peer to be elected to the Commons.
The Act also established the right of hereditary peeresses and of all Scottish peers to sit in the House of Lords.