House of Lords: Size — Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:33 pm on 12th December 2013.

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Photo of The Earl of Caithness The Earl of Caithness Conservative 4:33 pm, 12th December 2013

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for that clarification. However, if one follows the argument that one needs political balance, if there is a dramatic swing in 2015, more Peers will have to be created to reflect that balance. If there is a sudden drop in support for the Labour Party—which I fully anticipate—I am sure that some Labour Peers would want to resign from here in order to get that balance, rather than see the creation of new Conservative Peers.

The suspension of the succession of hereditary Peers has been raised, but that would not beeffective. Any Government—particularly a Conservative Government, because our party has the most hereditary Peers—would just appoint life Peers, most of whom would be older than the current hereditaries, or the current possible successors to those hereditaries, so that would not be very good.

I have a couple of suggestions for my noble friend on the Front Bench. Why not create the equivalent of the Irish peerage? We could offer people a peerage, but no right to sit in this House. That would be a good thing. Then there are the ex-MPs, who make up 22.7% of this House. I welcome them. Most are Labour, and have kept this House even though they were all part of a party that wanted to abolish it. However, perhaps there ought to be a five-year moratorium after someone has been an MP before they are offered an active peerage in this House.