Amendment 12

Part of House of Lords (Hereditary Peers) (Abolition of By-Elections) Bill [HL] - Report – in the House of Lords at 12:30 pm on 15th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Grocott Lord Grocott Labour 12:30 pm, 15th March 2019

It obviously does not even begin to solve the problem, because the elephant in the room is that the only people eligible to fill these vacancies will continue to be those who have inherited titles. The noble Lord, Lord Colgrain, said that if you happen to have inherited a title, that gives you a dispassionate view of the world. Let me put it in more personal terms. The noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, is an hereditary Peer. The noble Lord, Lord Howard, is a life Peer. Explain to me the crucial difference. I thought that they were both Tories who normally voted Tory and are indistinguishable from one another in that respect, but according to the noble Lord, Lord Colgrain, there is a fundamental difference between people who inherited the title and others.

How can it possibly continue to be right that 900 people, in this country of 60 million plus, who happened to have inherited a title have a one in 900 chance of becoming a Member of Parliament by being successful in an hereditary Peers’ by-election; whereas the rest of us—not us life Peers, but the remaining millions—have a roughly one in 75,000 chance of being a Member of Parliament? They have to get elected to do it. Why on earth should the descendants of Messrs Trefgarne, Colgrain, Caithness and Strathclyde have this assisted places scheme, as it has been referred to, which is denied to the rest of the population? Unless someone can give me a sensible answer to that, we will have to agree to disagree and, I hope, vote very soon.