Friday, March 26, 2010

Who Would Make a Good Conservative Peer?

Jonathan Isaby has blogged this morning about who David Cameron should put in the House of Lords following a Conservative election victory. Clearly, he will need to create some Tory Peers if he is to be confident of getting his legislation through. Currently, there are 704 Peers, but only 188 of them are Conservatives. They include 39 hereditaries, whose attendance shall we say, is indiscriminate. Labour has 211 Peers. There are 72 LibDems and 149 Crossbenchers.

Jonathan has asked ConservativeHome readers which of the retiring Conservative MPs they think should be elevated. Mark Field MP has argued that no retiring MPs should be made Peers unless they are going to be ministers, and others have suggested that any MP involved to any serious degree in the expenses scandal should be ignored.

Anyway, rather than ask you for you nominations, I thought I'd ask you to vote who you think ought to be nominated for a Peerage after the election, assuming there is a Conservative government. My own view is that no one who coudn't promise to devote a lot of time to being a Working Peer should be considered.

There are only six questions. The survey won't take long to complete.

* How would you like to see the Lords reformed
* What should the timetable be?
* Do you think MPs involved in the expenses scandal should be considered for peerages?
* Which of the retiring Tory MPs do you think should be considered?
* Which of ConHome's List of suggested Peers would you support
* Nominate your own peers

Click HERE to take part.


Jimmy said...

"My own view is that no one who coudn't promise to devote a lot of time to being a Working Peer should be considered."

Why? It's not is if promises made in order to obtain peerages are rigorously followed up.

Timothy Belmont said...

I see Sir R Empey and Sir K Bloomfield are the Ulster nominees. I nominate Lord Belmont, too. :-)

The Grim Reaper said...

I won't reveal who I nominated for a Tory peerage, but I think Iain will know immediately when he reads the results. ;-)

Unsworth said...

Edward Leigh, Richard Bacon, possibly David Davis. Leigh and Bacon are doing excellent work so it would be a shame to move them unless they could command decent responsibilities in the Lords.

TonyHendo said...

The flaw in this plan is that if Dave doesn't pull his finger out he is not going to win the election and therefore selecting peers will not be an issue

Brian said...

Instead of more Peers, why not initially cut the number of Peers to a maximum of 300 of which 100 should be cross-benchers and the remainder reflecting Commons seats? There are higher priorities for my taxes than keeping whipdogs in the comfort they have grown accustomed to. Next stage is a further cut to 100 Peers.

Sean said...

* How would you like to see the Lords reformed

We really have two choices, which Labour have dodged. (a) More or less leave it as is (b) Make it elected.

The Lords in its present form appears to deliver pretty wise decisions, so my inclination would be largely to leave it unchanged, but slimmed down; e.g. to 250 or so.

* What should the timetable be?

1st year of new parliament to get it installed and working.

* Do you think MPs involved in the expenses scandal should be considered for peerages?

Not if their involvement led to repayment of any money.

* Which of the retiring Tory MPs do you think
should be considered?

None of them.

* Which of ConHome's List of suggested Peers would you support


* Nominate your own peers


Arden Forester said...

The House of Lords is a great institution. I think the Earl of Onslow does a great job asking some very pertinent questions about rather impertinent government legislation.

I see no need to reform the House of Lords. Reform it with what exactly? "Conference League" politicians elected on regional lists? No thanks!! And what about the crossbenchers? When they get mentioned reformers start to change the subject. I realise the bishops cut no mustard in a secular world, but I get the impression that some just want change for changes sake.

Demetrius said...

See "The End Of The Peerage Show" on Wednesday 10 June 2009. There is a suggestion of election by "primary group" that would do the trick.

Pogo said...

Regarding the reorganisation of the House of Lords, IMHO, the best system would be to draw its members at random from the electoral register using a version of "ERNIE".

Each member (subject to a mild degree of vetting, ie be able to read, write, count and speak English) to stand for 8 years fixed-term, to be paid a decent salary - the same as an MP or senior civil servant. The job would be non-optional, for anyone on lower wage, then they've struck lucky for 8 years, anyone on higher - tough - they should be honoured to serve!

Rolling 25% to be replaced every 2 years. Start now with the first group and replace existing Lords who would be selected by lot.

Evensong said...

You forget to ask who should be removed from the Lords for abusing their position. Cleaning up Politics should go further than the Commons.

Silent Hunter said...

Anyone who's honest.

But where you're going to find some one in that category in British politics at the moment, beats me.

Bird said...

"...if Dave doesn't pull his finger out..blah, blah..."

Dave has been working his arse off for the last four years. What have you and fellow moaners been doing?

Calum Cashley said...

There was no option to abolish the House of Lords. Unicameral Parliament, I say, members should work for a living!

Phil C said...

I think this is a poor survey. For those of us who do not believe that the Executive should be able to appoint members to the Legislature surely we need a "none of the above" option on the lists of people to appoint? My view is that if people wish to contribute to the political life of the nation, they should be prepared to offer themselves to the citizens for election. If retiring MPs still wish to contribute, they should stand for election to some other post.

(Actually I have always been sympathetic to Pogo's idea for appointment by lot, but I fear it would be impracticable. But what's wrong with trying it out for a bit and seeing what happens?

There should be an arrangement for ministers who are not MPs to be called to the Bar of the House to answer questions and give ministerial statements.

Old Holborn said...

I would prefer to elect, not nominate.

I'm sure Lord Hanningfield would agree

Ray said...

What is alarming me is that the closer we get to the election,the more worried I am becoming. Posts like this don't make it any better,
However, if the conservatives do win, then they should apply the same rationalisation to the Lords they are proposing for the HoC. Why we need so many Lords on top of the m.p's we I have I am not sure. Any suggestions ? (a silly question)

Moriarty said...


You are absolutely correct. It's astonishing that having sought assurances Tony Blair didn't follow them up. Anyone would have thought that he was overhwelmed in the presence of wealth. Surely not!

Moriarty said...

Hey Jimmy: just as a matter of interest, does Lord Mortgage deliver the talking points of the day by Fed Ex or is it pillow talk?

tory boys never grow up said...

Perhaps before deciding who should be a peer there should first be some clear thinking as to the purpose of the House of Lords and the powers which need to go with that purpose. Only then can anyone give a sensible answer as to who the peers should be and how they are elected.

The only consensus view that I can see at present is that the 2nd House should be providing expert and detailed scrutiny of legislation. This points to a membership somewhat different from a retirement home for political hasbeens or neverwillbes.

pathstrider said...

Isn't the idea that Camaeron "has" to appoint some more Conservatives to get his legislation through part of the problem?

Call me crazy, but what about convincing some of those 149 crossbenchers on the, I dunno, merits of a particular proposal?

Unknown said...

I'm not sure I agree with the idea that Cameron has to appoint a horde of new peers to get his business through. He needs good policies and he needs to put them in his manifesto and then they will get through. I actually quite like the idea of nobody having a majority in the Lords, it makes their consensual, revising role seem more real.

I personally want a wholly appointed House of Lords. In all this talk about a senate, I think it pays to remember that a lot of Senates are distinctly unrepresentative bodies. I mean, look a the US Senate where a few hundred thousand Wyoming-ers get the same representation as 30 million Californians. Or indeed the Irish Senate, where members are elected by graduates of the NUI and even some poets are appointed.

Rush-is-Right said...

There is an answer to the House of Lords question, breathtaking in it's audacity, simplicity and appropriateness.

Simply repeal all the the changes made to it since 1997 and throw out all the life peers created since 1997. They are mostly Labour crooks and time-servers anyway. Control of the upper house would then return to the hereditaries (who, let us remember, are completely unsullied with all the sleaze of recent years) and the surviving Life-Peers of the 1997 era.


Dave H said...

Alistair Darling. He's broadly respected and Gordon has just publicly announced that even if Labour win the election he is determined to sack him.

Unsworth said...

@ Jamie

Wholly appointed? So, wholesale political patronage, then.

Who appoints, and on what basis?

Calum said...

I have long held that reform of the Lords should be kept to a minimum in keeping with good democratic principles. The system we have works reasonably well and upsetting the apple-cart for the sake of it seems pointless. Therefore, my suggestion for Lords reform is to keep it the same, but alter the appointment process. Instead of selecting and appointing the great and good, peers would be selected at random from the voters roll. An independent commission would keep an eye on the numbers and advise on the workings of the scheme.

The beauty here is that there is no real constitutional change required. I can't see that it would even require any primary legislation. Indeed, if the experiment is found to be a dismal failure it can be quietly scrapped and the status quo restored with ease.

Pogo said...

@Bird, March 26, 2010 6:09 PM: Dave has been working his arse off for the last four years.

...Yeh. Busily presenting himself as the second coming of Tony Blair!

What have you and fellow moaners been doing?

Trying to persuade him that it is a fatuous and stupid thing to do. From the current polls, demonstrably a vote-loser.

bustop said...

We are told that 'getting rid' of existing peers will cost us a small fortune in compensation. On the basis that the Lords needs reform why the hell would we want to elevate any more - at least until we know what we are doing? If Cameron feels that he needs stronger influence for his party then boot out Brown's cronies - starting with Michael Martin. Do any of these existing MPs deserve a title and an income for life?
Cameron should take the high ground now - no peerages for this parliament - I do not think it is an overstatement to say it could be an election winning stance.

Unknown said...


As somebody on a lower wage while I would appreciate a higher wage for a few years what would happen after?

Having being out of the job market for 8 years I find it difficult to find any paid employment much above the shelf stacker level.

The people doing the job should preferably have good experience and knowledge.