House of Lords: Gender Equality - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:07 am on 6th June 2019.

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Photo of Lord Young of Cookham Lord Young of Cookham Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 11:07 am, 6th June 2019

My Lords, I understand the noble Baroness’s wish to remove the barrier to women entering your Lordships’ House via the hereditary by-election principle by allowing the title to pass to the eldest child. I believe there are better ways to reduce the current imbalance. The noble Baroness’s solution involves, first, getting primary legislation through this House on the right of succession. The noble Lord, Lord Grocott, will tell the noble Baroness just how difficult it is to get legislation through this House that tampers with the hereditary principle. Secondly, it would then depend on a marked increase in the mortality of hereditary Peers, something which I know the noble Baroness does not want. Thirdly, it would depend on women winning the by-elections. I honestly think it is better to make progress and get more women in your Lordships’ House by continuing to drive up the percentage of life peerages, rather than by going around the course I have just enunciated.