That would be a splendid result. Peers in that age group should at least be talking to someone in the House—possibly a human resource desk or, better still, someone in every group and party who will already have that expertise. The Whips will of course have ulterior motives for removing some of their more independent colleagues, so it would be better to choose someone else, respected and preferably in the same generation—with, one hopes, the support of their party leader.
As a further incentive, I should like to revive discussion of the paper written by the former Clerk of the Parliaments, which shows that the House could afford, say, an average year’s expenses to tide over Members who are genuinely in difficulty—those without pensions or other resources. This would be a net saving.
On hereditary Peers, I will say only, along with most of the Norton group, that the time may be approaching when we review by-elections, but this report is not a platform for that conversation.
Finally, I am genuinely sorry to hear that the Bishops are seriously contemplating a cut in their own numbers. They rarely appear in large numbers and, in that sense, they are well balanced by those of other faiths whom we warmly welcome. I hope that the Bishops will reconsider their position.