The House of Lords Act 1999 reformed the House of Lords. Until then, all peers of the United Kingdom were automatically members of the House of Lords. However, from that date, most of the hereditary peers ceased to be members, whereas the life peers retained their seats. All hereditary peers of the first creation (i.e. those for whom a peerage was originally created, as opposed to those who inherited a peerage), and all surviving hereditary peers who had served as Leader of the House of Lords, were offered a life peerage to allow them to sit in the House should they wish.