Monday, April 05, 2010

Ten Lords a Leaping

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.


Demetrius said...

Mullin? Isn't he one of the group that prevented libel reform in this Parliament? Well, as someone who hates liberty and freedom a place in the Lords might be appropriate.

Old Holborn said...

I've been calling you a gaylord for years

Will fae London said...

"There aren't many husband and wife teams in the House of Lords, but Fiona Hodgson's wife Robin is already a peer."


arthur said...

How about a list of the top 10 peers who should be removed from the House of Lords?

The Grim Reaper said...

Lord Dale of Saffron Walden does have a certain ring to it, doesn't it?

John said...

Dale to the Lords? Isn't that a bit like qualifying for Europe by winning the fair play league?

wild said...

Maybe they should restrict appointments to the House of Lords only to those who are persistently rejected by local parties as candidates for the House of Commons?

Lord Blagger said...

Sack the lot.

1. The majority have been on the fiddle.
2. The others held the door open and let them take the cash.

We don't need a second house. Many countries don't have a second house and do not suffer from this.

Instead we need to give the electorate control over politicians.

Referenda by proxy. It's cheap. People control the issues. Politicians lead, but it will only happen if the majority support the policy.

Now I can hear the excuse, we won't be able to do X. Quite right. If you don't have the support of the majority for X, you won't be able to get it passed.

Direct Democracy. Tough on politicians.

Thatsnews said...

I am not a member of the Conservative Party, Iain, but your list does seem a reasonable one.

DespairingLiberal said...

I am proud to announce that I have come into possession of the _real_ Dale peerage recommendations, marked Top Secret! Here they are. In the interests of freedom of speech.

1/ Lord Dale of Epping Forest. Pretty obvious really.

2/ Lord Montgomerie of Alamein (shome mishtake shurely?) er, I mean, of Ashdown, er Ashcroft. Lord Montgomerie of Doughty.

3/ Lord Ashcroft of Belize. Er. Oh dear. He already is one.

4/ Lord Mark Thatcher of Malabo (Suspended-Sentence) and Lady Carol Thatcher of Dulwich Common and the Minstrels.

5/ Lord Johnson of Boris, Thrice Mayor of Londinium, Gosh, er, I think so, anyway, crikey.

6/ Lord David Davis, Baron and Most Pursuivant Lord Privy Councillor for the Prematurely Resigned.

7/ Lord John Simmons of Wadhurst, 1st Baron Tunbridge.

8/ M'Lud Howard, emails to his secretary Ms Shroudings, not during the Hours when the Sun Be-eth Exalted please.

9/ Lord Hague of Many Pints.

10/ Lord Portillo of Blandings.

11/ Lady Burley of Sky, First Handbag to His Majesty Lord Murdoch of the Grand Caymans.

(That's enough Dale peers, Ed.)

Steve Nimmons said...

Nothing for the Provinces then? How's about a peerage for Sir Reg Empey?

Iain Dale said...

I dont know Sir Reg Empey. I do know the others and know they'd be great.

Moriarty said...

I wonder if Despairing Drivel wonders why people never respond to his posts.

DiscoveredJoys said...

Um, don't we want a second house that doesn't merely rubber stamp the House of Commons? Checks and balances (sadly lacking at the moment) suggest that cronies and placemen should not be enobled.

I'll agree that selection on a (mostly) hereditary basis is difficult to justify, but wouldn't it be better to turf out the existing Lords (bye bye Mandleson, bye bye bishops) and go for an elected second house? A hundred senators, 10% standing for election each year on a rolling basis should do the trick.

Frugal Dougal said...

I don't think I could take another round of canvassing!

Michael Heaver said...

I have always liked Widdecombe, a straight talker who you know where you stand with.

wild said...

The system, put in place by professional politicians, that you render yourself eligible for the House of Lords by gaining the patronage of a political party, is far more corrupting than a system in which you obtain a lordship by being rich enough to buy one.

Even if you are awarded a peerage by accident of birth there is at least the possibility of the sort of independence of mind that can speak truth to power.

The problem is not that politicians are held in contempt, it is that they are not held in enough contempt. The English should grumble less and start instead pulling the props away from the power of the political establishment.

john in cheshire said...

Iain, you seem to be becoming part of the problem. Which is a shame because I was quite liking your blog; you seemed, for a time, to be saying things I wanted to hear. But you've changed.

Iain Dale said...

That's funny, as I don't ever recall you making a comment on this blog which wasn't critical. I must be imagining it...

eb said...

I agree, it is important to ensure that the second Chamber actually works. But define what you mean by "works".

In my view the second chamber should revert to its historical role as a revising chamber and a check on the government of the day. This is far superior to any government being able to get all its business through or the opposite extreme that the government cannot get any business through.

Traditionally, despite a number of attempts by Labour to flood the Lords with Labour peers, it was always regarded as right wing yet even Maggie had to use the parliament act to get some legislation through.

If it can't go back to the way it was then any further changes should ensure that the members are not reliant on any political party to retain their seats.

Chris_sh said...

Absolutely off topic, for which I apologise, but with the news that Brown et al are claiming that raising NI doesn't have a knock on effect on jobs.

If they feel that raising taxes doesn't have an effect, why have they consistently put up tax on alcohol, tobacco and fuel - they said it was to reduce demand, i.e. they believe that raising taxes reduces demand, so they must have also believed that raising tax cost of employing someone would also reduce demand for employees.

This seems to be something that no one else is mentioning; perhaps you could blog about it (with a bit more eloquence I may add)

Barnacle Bill said...

Come on Iain instead of keeping your fingers crossed for a bit of ermine, how about campaigning for an elected second chamber?
As it looks like after the next GE they will need a lot of air fresheners to cover the stench brought in by the latest ennobled party lickers.

Iain Dale said...

I am not keeping my fingers crossed for anything, I can assure you.

I have long campaigned for a fully elected second chamber.

John said...

Fair play to you Iain, especially given your track record for not actually winning elections.

Anonymous said...

Surely you cannot be happy, Iain, that the CFI are using your photograph here?


Iain Dale said...

why on earth not? I am a member and supporter of CFOI.

Anonymous said...

Stephen Byers of Hackney (cab)

Lord Blagger said...

So why do people want a second chamber? It will just be stuffed with party hacks.

Lets go for real democracy and allow the electorate the final say on all bills.

Then no need for a second chamber, and 600 million saved over the life of the next parliament

jojoko said...

All titles should be abolished and the upper house should be wholly elected.

Glyn H said...

Widders; just fine. Mullins - agree. MacKinley? You must be joking. Hard faced basket, played the system like hell, married to that squarking harridan who joined him in the deceit? I'm a Tory but they are vile. Begone, and you, dear Dale should regard them as an old generation regard DuCann. Damaged goods.

Lord Blagger said...

Let me explain more.

Here you are being offered a choice of A or B.

Pick the new peers. Do you choose peer A or peer B?

It's a con. It's a con because the question is designed to steer you into the direction the questioner wants. You sit there pondering the merits of A or B, and not thinking, why am I being offered these choices?

Instead ask yourself, is a choice of A or B what I really want, or do I want something else? What are the other choices.