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House of Lords (Hereditary Peers) (Abolition of By-Elections) Bill [HL] - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:20 pm on 13th March 2020.

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Photo of Lord Grocott Lord Grocott Labour 12:20 pm, 13th March 2020

My Lords, the people who have been damaging their case are all the hereditary Peers—with the exception of the noble Earl, Lord Howe—who made contributions today. They have been particularly depressing in their unanimity, but they are also unrepresentative of the rest of the hereditary Peers, who are not here, because, as I said, there are many who wished this Bill well for the future.

We heard from nine hereditaries: Messrs Strathclyde, Trefgarne, Caithness, Trenchard, Reay, Mancroft, Glenarthur, Astor and Northbrook. I mention their names because they failed to do what the Companion requires, which is to declare an express, clear interest. Time is short, but I am being persuaded that I really ought to read out the extract from the document itself, the text to which we all adhere. The section headed “Rules of Conduct” on page 65 states:

“In order to assist in openness and accountability, Members shall … declare when speaking in the House or communicating with ministers or public servants any interest which is a relevant interest in the context of the debate or the matter under discussion.”

That is game, set, match and tournament. According to the rules of this House, they should have declared their interest.