ConservativeHome have rather kindly included me on their list of 100 potential peers today. I don't delude myself that there's much chance of that actually happening, but it did provoke an idea for a blogpost.
I support a fully elected House of Lords, but until that actually comes about, it's important to ensure that the second Chamber actually works. A government needs to know that it will, other other things being equal, be able to get its legislation through the Lords, so that means that it is likely that David Cameron will indeed need to create a raft of new peers if he wins. In addition, Labour and the LibDems will want to refresh their own benches. Here are ten people, from all three parties, who I'd suggest should be considered or a peerage...
Baroness Widdecombe of Widdicombe on the Moor
Ann Widdecombe has always been her own woman. She certainly isn't a Cameroon and indeed, she's been very critical of aspects of Tory policy since 2005. However, the Lords needs independent voices of firm conviction and it needs working peers who will turn up day after day.
Lord Mackinlay of Thurrock
Andrew Mackinlay is the rebels rebel. Which is why he's unlikely to be elevated to the Lords by a Labour leader. But if he makes a cause his own he's like a Jack Russell who won't let go of your ankle. He's an expert on Britain's independent territories and a firm advcate of parliamentary sovereignty. He'd make a great peer.
Lord Mullin of Sunderland
In his final speech in the Commons, Chris Mullin broke down in tears. His love of Parliament was there for all to see. Another independent spirit, he is a huge loss to parliament. His select committee chairmanship was an example to others and although he didn't shine as a minister, he is exactly what the Lords needs - a powerful and independent voice.
Lord Brack of Streatham (pic)
Duncan Brack was head of LibDem policy in the 1990s and now works at Chatham House. He is the driver and inspiration of the LibDem History Group and although I agree with him on very little, he's a thoughtful intellectual who would bring calmness and rigour to the House of Lords and would speak well on international issues.
Lord Montgomerie of Salisbury
I'm not nominating Tim as a "you scratch my back" nomination - I genuinely think he would be a great peer. He has always eschewed elected office but his powerful representation of a particular strand of Conservative thought would bring a lot to Lords debates. He is a strong advicate of Conservatism on the media and would performa powerful role as one of the party's consciences in the Upper House.
Lord Marshall-Andrews of Medway
You can see a theme developing, can't you? I like independent mavericks. Bob has been a briliant parliamentarian. He may be on the left but his willingness to vote and speak with his conscience has been admirable - unless, of course you are a Labour whip. If I were David Cameron, I'd nominate Bob, along with Andrew Mackinlay and Chris Mullin, because Gordon Brown never will.
Baroness Hodgson of Astley Abbots (pic)
There aren't many husband and wife teams in the House of Lords, but Fiona Hodgson's wife Robin is already a peer. Fiona is a veteran of the Conservative Women's Organisation and has been instrumental in raising the profile of women in the Party. She has a well developed sense of humour and is brilliant in taking up causes and seeing them through.
Baroness Browning of Tiverton
Angela Browning is one of those rare politicians who is popular with everyone despite having definte views on many things. She's a bit like Gillian Shephard in some ways, in that she has become a bit of a Mother Confessor figure. She'd be fantastic in the House of Lords and make a fantastic Minister.
Lord Porter of Woking (pic)
Don Porter is a veteran of the Conservative voluntary party. He's a party man and a party loyalist. He's a self made millionaire businessman and is one of the nicest people in the party. He's one of life's conciliators and would be a very calming influence in turbulent times.
Lord Goodman of High Wycombe
Paul Goodman's decision to leave the House of Commons came as a bitter blow to many of his friends and admirers. I'd like to think that he doesn't want to turn his back on politics altogether and that he would consider taking a peerage if it were offered. He has a huge amount to contribute and is one of the party's finest intellects.