From Comment

Informed opinion on politics, the hereditary peerage and modern life; unafraid of controversy and never following the crowd.

Why have Tories abandoned the hereditaries?

In 1999, during the debate on the House of Lords Bill, Geoff Hoon quoted a passage from the Conservatives’ 1997 campaign guide which read: “It is important to defend the hereditary principle in its own right.” It is a pity the leadership and even former hereditary Leader of the House, Lord Strathclyde, no longer seem to believe this. For those unfamiliar with the thinking behind the hereditary principle – and the reason it arose in the first place via the institution of monarchy – some of these are detailed below. The most common misunderstanding of the hereditary principle is that…

Labour philistines table more wrecking of the House of Lords

The Daily Telegraph today reported that Labour peers are calling for major reform of the House of Lords which would lead to the expulsion of all remaining hereditary peers and the banning of ceremonial vestments to make it “a democratic chamber fit for the twenty-first century.” A reform more fitting to the history and traditions of this country would be to expel all but a handful of life peers deemed of “exceptional value” (to use Labour’s term) and, if a smaller House is deemed necessary, provide for the peer-based election of a fixed number of hereditary peers. The House of Lords…

“House of Lords Reform: What Next?” A response

On 17 October 2013 the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee of the House of Commons (PCRC) published its report, House of Lords Reform: What Next?1 The Friends of the Hereditary Peerage (FHP) would like to address that part of the report which directly affects the future of the excepted hereditary peers in the House of Lords. The FHP takes issue with the PCRC’s conclusion that there is “broad-based and significant support” for ending by-elections to fill vacancies amongst the number of excepted hereditary peers in the House of Lords.2 The PCRC took evidence from 14 witnesses and written evidence from 25…

Does hereditary peerage matter?

By Lord Monckton It was 6am in Sydney. At my hotel bedside, the telephone rang. It said, “I’m Adam Spencer of the ABC, and you’re on the air. Are you a member of the House of Lords?” I was in Australia to debate not the hereditary peerage but the climate, in an hour-long live prime-time programme from the Press Club in Canberra on ABC1, networked throughout the land and repeated twice. One was delighted to find such interest in the arcana of peerage law Down Under. But my antennae twitched. I replied: “Yes, but without the right to sit or…