I think that the Standing Orders do not require me to declare an interest given that most people in this House know I am a hereditary Peer—and I am delighted to be one. What I am not is a placeman of a Prime Minister.
That is the issue which divides the House today. My noble friend Lord Strathclyde has quite rightly said that no one is defending the hereditary peerage in the way it was defended in 1908 and 1911. That is not the attempt; rather, it is the inadvertent effect of this Bill, which is of concern to many of my noble friends and indeed to the noble Lord, Lord Adonis, who referred to it earlier. By creating an appointed House without an appointments commission, we create a monster whether we want it or not. I say this with great respect to noble Lords throughout the House, however they came to be here.
The joke that is repeated in the newspapers is that this is the second-largest Chamber in the world after the Beijing second Chamber. That is probably correct, but it is pointless and irrelevant. What is much more important is that, if we were to go down the route the noble Lord, Lord Grocott, is seducing us to follow, we will have done something that is unique in the world. We will have created a second Chamber that is virtually a retirement home for the Members of its first Chamber. In other words, we would create a second Chamber which is the poodle of the political establishment of the day.
At the moment, we are going through one of the most difficult periods in our political development—certainly during my time in this House. The passage of Brexit and our departure from the European Union is causing huge problems, the biggest of which is the separation between—