Friday, May 28, 2010

New Peers List Enhances Labour Majority Over Tories

Well, if ever you needed evidence that the House of Lords should be elected, just click HERE to view the full list of new peers announced today. Here are some of the lowlights...

Quentin Davies
Tommy McAvoy
Floella Benjamin
Paul Boateng
Jack McConnell

...and last but not least, the old thumper himself, Lord Prescott.

There is a real Lavender List element to today's announcement with Gordon Brown rewarding his most loyal party and advisry apparatchiks with gongs. They include the Smith Institute's Wilf Stevenson, Sue Nye, Dianne Hayter, Anna Healy (aka Mrs Jon Cruddas) and Roy Kennedy.

Strangely enough there is no peerage for Peter Watt. I am gobsmacked. Almost as gobsmacked as I was to see Ian Blair get a peerage.

On the Tory side I am pleased to see Margaret Eaton, Guy Black, Michael Howard, Shireen Ritchie and Angela Browning ennobled as I think they will all do a great job as working peers.

There is another interesting aspect to this list - and that is that it further enhances the Labour majority over the Conservatives in the House of Lords from 23 to 36. Before this list there were

211 Labour peers
188 Conservative peers
72 LibDems
182 Crossbenchers

When these peers take their seats there will be

240 Labour peers
204 Conservative Peers
81 LibDems
183 Crossbenchers

What this means is that there will almost certainly be a further list of working peers announced before too long. I can see no logic for the Labour Party continuing to have nearly 20% more peers than the main party in government.

But hopefully the next list will be the last one to be announced in this way and then we can move towards a properly elected chamber before the end of this parliament.

UPDATE: Just a thought. Isn't it wrong that there are no SNP or Plaid peers?


Mirtha Tidville said...

No suprises there...its about what you would expect from someone like Broon....

James Chard said...

Why is Floella Benjamin listed as a lowlight and Shireen Ritchie as a highlight?

It seems to me that both are capable women with a lot of strings to their respective bows who have been involved in politics but not on the professional level (with the advantages and disadvantages that entails).

They no doubt have different perspectives on various issues. But I'd be interested in you explanation as to why one is fundamentally more or less qualified than the other?

Dave Gould said...

As if elections aka party popularity contests will be any better.

Works for local & Euro elections doesn't it.

What we need is the selection to be made by a truly independent but informed group.

Think something like our jury system with advisors picked from the House of Lords itself. Goodbye the Prescotts of this world, welcome unheard-of experts in law, science, IT etc.

Jimmy said...

"Strangely enough there is no peerage for Peter Watt. I am gobsmacked."

You're kidding me right?

Walsingham's Ghost said...

I'm confused how, after the appointment of all these new Peers,Labour still end up with such a numerical supremacy.

Wasn't this new intake supposed to eradicate this anomaly?


Iain Dale said...

I've noticed before Jimmy, that irony is not exactly your strong suit.

LetUsFaceTheFuture said...

At least you've given up trying to be impartial. Interesting considering only yesterday you criticised me for being, in your words "obsessively partisan". Although you also keep saying I can't read and that is a criticism that, though already incorrect, is made somewhat ironic given that you can't even spell the name of a person you are attempting to criticise. It's "Tommy McAvoy". Double M, Mr. Dale.

And the point is there should be NO life peerages in this manner.

Brian said...

Still nothing for Alastair Campbell either.

Unknown said...

Clearly the current system of Lords appointments is far from perfect but why would an elected upper house be any better? Surely the answer is to strengthen the rules on appointments so that potential peers are of a higher calibre rather than infesting the place with yet more career politicians looking only to their next promotion or their re-election?

Anonymous said...

But this is just Browns dissolution list.

There will clearly be more peers later.

When we abolish lords will we abolish creating life peers altogether?

Why cannot previous political life peers not be defenestrated - or whatever the word is.

I trust cameron will give Watt a peerage. As well as the chief for Nokia PR in Britain

Anonymous said...

With Ian Blair getting a life peerage it seems that the British celebrate rewarding ineptitude and failure. Incredible to think of all those socialist men and women of the people queing up to get trimmed in ermine. AT least Floelaa Benjamin did something worthwhile...Play School...30 years ago. WTF has she been up to since that makes her so deserving?

Henry Wood said...

The working class can kiss my a*se,
I've got my bloody peerage at last!
- Lord Prescott of 2 Jags, Five Bellies and Six Tins of Carnation.

(Who only accepts it for Pauline, of course.)

jen said...

I don't know about Plaid, but the SNP have a policy of never accepting peerages.

John MacLeod said...

There's at least one Plaid Cymru life-peer, Iain - Baron (Dafydd) Elis Thomas, former MP for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy... yes, I did have to look up the spelling...

The SNP do not accept peerages on principle, though there was some inept lobbying on behalf of Robert MacIntyre (party elder and the first SNP ever elected, during a war-time by-election) in the 1970s, to no avail, and it is widely believed the late Donald Stewart was offered one, but declined. Many Nationalists are not even happy about Privy Council membership, though to date only three SNP eminences (Stewart, George Reid - who was not officially a Nationalist at the time, having laid aside party allegiance as Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament - and Alex Salmond) have attained it. Stewart was granted it when the SNP boasted eleven MPs in the mid1970s - in any event, he and Callaghan got on extremely well; and it is understood The Queen herself pretty well commanded that Salmond that Salmond be admitted, after he was elected First Minister of Scotland.

Withell said...

Isn't it normal for retiring Deputy Speakers to go to the Lords? Surely Lord Lord and Lady Heal should be there. And I thought maybe Ann Widdecombe, Nicholas Winterton and Patrick Cormack would have made it in, or is there likely to be a later list when Cameron tries to adjust the balance in the Lords?

Simon Gardner said...

Who is Peter Watt?

john in cheshire said...

Please God, help this new government to bring in a fully elected second chamber as soon as possible. I presume in the meanwhile, it is acceptable to refuse to recognise these titles?

David Lindsay said...

Congratulations to Hilary Armstrong on her peerage, especially as she now says that she was against the Iraq War all along. Dianne Hayter is also rewarded at last. Her Fightback! is as invaluable as Clare V.J. Griffiths's Labour and the Countryside, and Martin Pugh's Speak for Britain!

The Opus Dei-connected hammer of Welsh separatism and of Welsh-language supremacism (a form of class oppression within South Wales, and nothing to do with Welsh-speaking areas), Don Touhig, also remains inside the parliamentary process.

Those of us of a certain age can only be delighted that the Lib Dems have caused the ennoblement of Floella Benjamin. But the absence of the anti-war Douglas Hogg is nothing more than spite; not a penny was ever paid for his moat, and he certainly bears comparison with many of those raised to the ermine in the Blair years.

The omission of Sir Patrick Cormack and of Ann Widdecombe should also serve as yet another signal to the Old Right: wipe the dust of the Conservative Party from your feet as you take up Proportional Representation and run with it.

As for the drivelling nonsense that John Prescott is some sort of hypocrite for taking his due like a good trade unionist, Labour's only commitment to abolish the House of Lords was in its first ever manifesto, several decades before even Prescott was born. The early Labour Party also peremptorily dismissed a proposal to make it anti-monarchist, something repeated at the founding conference of Respect.

And there has never, ever been a Labour Party policy to abolish private schools. Nor was sending one's children to them any bar to advancement before the rise of their product, the second Viscount Stansgate, and before the embourgoisement of the activist base, a process in which teachers were, and are, highly prominent.

Jimmy said...

My bad Iain.

You do seem to having an off week though so it's hard to tell.

Patrick said...

Floella Benjamin ??

Why not make Bungle, Zippy and Humpty Dumpty peers too?

And Brian Cant was much better too.

David Boothroyd said...

The comment about the 'Lavender List' shows a very poor memory of history. The problem with the Lavender List wasn't Wilson's rewarding of his longserving assistants, because that's exactly what the PM's retirement honours is supposed to be about. The problem with Wilson's retirement honours was that it included a whole load of business, show-business and other names who had no close connection with him and a remarkably large number of which turned out to be corrupt.

But would you agree that for the interim period, the two main parties ought to have broadly the same numbers in the Lords, as was the policy under the previous government?

James Chard said...

Patrick - it was always said in the Playschool days that "Floella will but Brian Cant". That has never been more true than today.

Seriously, though, Floella is an outstanding person with an impressive life story and accomplishments. If you're going to have an unelected second House (and I'd rather not), better it's people like her than numerous ex-MPs who can't be arsed lowering themselves to standing for election any more.

Jess The Dog said...

Armstrong, Browne, Boateng, Davis, Liddell, McConnell, Nye, McAvoy, Prescott....

Lording it over us?

Sod off.

Scum, the lot of them.

Reform the Upper House and kick them out. Ha ha!

John Reid (oddly) I actually have some time for. And Blunkett, who doesn't feature.

William said...

Jack McConnell, eh?

That would be the guy who lost the 2007 Holyrood election to the SNP and was "rewarded" by Broon with the High Commissionship of Malawi, only for him never to be allowed to take up his post because Broon was s**t scared of losing the consequent by-election to the SNP, and so he has been fannying round the world at our expense (still as an MSP) as Broon's "special envoy for conflict resolution", and now has received the ultimate prize for being a good boy and never saying "boo" to his masters in London while he was First minister of Scotland, and since.
I see another parcel of Scottish Labour rogues, Reid, Browne etc have also landed in the trough thanks to Broon.
Unrelated question: when is Broon going to appear in the House of Commons nad face the music?

Anonymous said...

If there is any one who does not deserve the peerage is Paul Boeteng.
In GLA with Red Ken he played colour politics and the other who played colour politics is Trevor Philips. Both befriended various Labour figures at different times to further their careers. For Philips it was Mandelson and for Boeteng it was Red Ken first and then Brown. Boeteng's son 's details of notorious activities in SA was suppressed from the press. He was pompous as the HM Highcommissioner in SA, and his family milked all they could from the British establishment who felt particularly guilty about blacks and coloured people in Britain. The most undeserving person if I ever saw one.

Anonymous said...

Can't se what you are complaining about Iain, the coalition wil outnumber Labour comfortably.

You Conservatives just have to find a way to deal with the fact that politcs has changed.

I've no complaints about Floella either, I used to have a crush on her.

Unsworth said...

A total devaluation of the currency.

The hereditaries must be pissing themselves with laughter.

Unknown said...

Hi Iain,

Have you checked out Lords of the Blog and the Norton View? I think you'll find that they would explain beyond any doubt that electing the House of Lords would be the worst possible thing to happen!

Let me know what you think

Unknown said...

As a person that used to live in Tommy MacAvoy's constituency (Glasgow Rutherglen before it was renamed!) he is exactly as smug and gittish as he appears.

He's actually worse than Michael Martin getting a Peerage. At least Martin did work for the House, MacAvoy is a shamefacedly partisan worker, he was a whip for goodness sake (sorry, Comptroller of the Royal Household... git).

He even got me mixed up with my father when we each emailed him (several years apart) because we have the same initials!

I hate the man more than anybody else in the Labour Party.

Andy DM said...

Iain, the entire Parliaments of 1997-2001 and 2001-2005 had more Tory peers than Labour peers, it was only with the Dissolution Honours in 2005 that Labour took the lead.

I share with you a desire to see an democratic upper chamber, but I don't remember you being outraged at the Tories retaining a majority over Labour in the House of Lords following the landslides of 1997 and 2001

Anonymous said...

@William. Scots call Jack McConnell, Jack the Joke. He is a Brown's cronie, very inefficient party apparatchik, like the two Jags.

Lady Finchley said...

Quentin Davies - for what? Being a disgusting turncoat?

Lady Finchley said...

Simon - are you mad? The Wintertons? Cameron would sooner have a thousand paper cuts on his face.

Hiraeth said...

Plaid Cymru no longer nominate people for peerages. Dafydd El accepted off his own bat.

Newmark said...

Patrick said...
Floella Benjamin ??
Why not make Bungle, Zippy and Humpty Dumpty peers too?

Ranter said...
"At least Floela Benjamin did something worthwhile...Play School...30 years ago. WTF has she been up to since that makes her so deserving?"

How about, at various times:

- Chancellor of the University of Exeter
- Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London.
- OBE for services to broadcasting in 2001.
- Chairman of BAFTA
- Lifetime Achievement award from BAFTA.
- Millennium Commissioner.
- Governor of the National Film and Television School.
- Governor of Dulwich College
- Vice-President of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
- Cultural Ambassador for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

Nick said...

Surely it would be better not to stoop to ZaNuLieBore's level and appoint a load of peers simply to get a majority. Keep to the moral high ground and use the Lib Dems in the short term until we have a reformed second chamber. If we appoint 100 peers to get a majority we will lose any moral authority and without the need to reform it the process will slow down.

Unknown said...

Floella Benjamin is certainly not a lowlight of the House of Lords; I may usually disagree with the party she supports, but she's done a lot of work in the field of education, including being a superb Chancellor of Exeter University (she's done all Graduation ceremonies bar two she had prior commitments for - and given how dull they are, she deserves a medal for that alone!), and what looks like a fair bit of charity work.

I have no objection to Floella, and people like her being in the House of Lords.

Unknown said...

The sooner we have an elected second chamber the better. Preferably with half as many members as the Commons. Make them work the same hours as the Commons and pay them the same and call them Legislative Lords. Election open to all members, hereditaries included. Those not elected allowed to use Lords facilities but notclaim any expenses as they are not working Peers.

Keir said...

This is outrageous! How on earth is raising such an uncouth, boorish and corrupt man to the peerage going to do anything to improve people's respect and faith in our Government?

James Dowden said...

Iain, have you missed the saga of Gordon Brown blocking Plaid's nominees for the past two years?

But anyway, with those figures, David Cameron should not hesitate to immediately appoint 95 Conservative and 109 Liberal Democrat peers to bring the composition of the House in line with the election result.