Isn’t it fun when Labour and Tory peers whinge about the Lib Dems?

The Guardian highlights a bit of Labour stirring in the House of Lords. Lord Campbell-Savours used a question on Lords reform to suggest that the Liberal Democrats had fallen back so far in the General Election that they shouldn’t get new appointments.

My Lords, just for the record, both Labour and the Conservatives increased their share of the poll at the last general election. How can we justify adding to the existing 101 Liberal Democrat Peers, who already form 21% of the whipped party-affiliated membership of this House, when their party secured only 7.9% of the poll, winning only eight seats on a collapsed national vote at the general election? Surely, if we are listening to the people, even UKIP and the Greens have a greater claim on new peerages—otherwise, we bring this House into disrepute and, indeed, ridicule.

Leader of the House Baroness Stowell replied:

I certainly understand the point that the noble Lord makes in his Question, and his view is shared by many noble Lords around the House. I shall make two points in response. If and when a Dissolution Honours List marking the end of the previous Parliament is published, it would be surprising if it did not reflect the fact that there were two parties in government. More importantly, the message I want to direct to all noble Lords is that, regardless of party balance, this House has a very important role in the legislative process, and in doing our work, this House is not, and should not become, an alternative platform for party politics.

Michael Forsyth then got in on the fun and suggested that on the results of the previous election, 60 of our lot should resign.

You don’t often see Lib Dems being over-represented anywhere. In fact, if the people had got the Parliament they asked for in 2010 there would have been around 140 of us. Even this year there would have been 51 on a proportional system. Bearing in mind that both Tories and Labour stopped reforms which would have led to the majority of Lords being elected now, I have no patience with their whinging about how many Lib Dems are there now.

What does slightly worry me, though, is that the names mentioned by the Guardian as potential Lib Dem peers are all men. They cite Sir Alan Beith and Sir Menzies Campbell as being on the list. I would be very surprised if Sir Malcolm Bruce, as a former Scottish leader, was not ennobled. If we only have four or five, that doesn’t give a lot of scope for diversity which would be regrettable. And when I say regrettable, I mean I shall be utterly livid.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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19 Comments

  • The ones the Grauniad guess are likely are not necessarily the right ones. Hasn’t Ming the Merciless already said he wouldn’t accept? I know Vince has

  • Simon McGrath 27th Jun '15 - 9:56am

    So which women should replace Beith, Menzies or Bruce ?

  • Lorely Burt for one!

  • ‘Fun’, as in your title, should be the operative word….Sadly you spoil it by calling it ‘whinging’. Could you, honestly, say that, were the roles reversed, LibDem peers would not have enjoyed discomforting their Labour colleagues in the HoL?
    The Important factor, as per your last paragraph, lies with the LibDems …The decision is not within the remit of the Labour peers but far closer to home….

  • Add together the 2 Houses of Parliament & Libdems have about 8%, our slight over-representation in one balancing the massive under-representation in the other. In any case Parliament discussed reform very recently & decided, overwhelmingly to keep things as they are.

  • SmokedKioper 27th Jun '15 - 11:27am

    What about your pious democratic principles? The LibDems are utter hypocrites.

  • SmokedKioper 27th Jun '15 - 11:31am

    The establishment protects itself, eh? Democracy be damned? As long as the LibLabCon can keep themselves on the gravy train and suppress democratic representation of those awful unwashed masses then the ends justify the means, right?

  • If people are comlaining about our chums in ermine, that’s a GOOD THING.
    The more complaints from our political opponents the better.
    I hope our 101 noble pals do everything possible to irritate, wind-up, block, oppose, disrupt and in general make a thorough nuisance of themselves over the next five years.
    I look forward to a torrent of complaints especially from the Conservatives.
    At least that way the media will mention us and will remember that there is more to the Liberal Democrats in the 21st Century than the fading memories of a few junior ministers.

  • Sammy O'Neill 27th Jun '15 - 3:48pm

    On the maths, we shouldn’t really be getting any peers. UKIP, the Greens and SNP have far more claim to them than we do. That aside, why are we even accepting peerages? Does the party have no principles or integrity left?

    Also note there is still no article on the letter in the Guardian yesterday supporting Norman Lamb for leader. If it was Farron, we all know we’d have had one by now. Ah b latent bias, that most unliberal of traits.

  • Roger Roberts 27th Jun '15 - 5:25pm

    Tories and Labour have only themselves to blame
    At the recent General Election the Conservatives claim a mandate after polling 37% of those who voted, 63% opposed them. 37 to 63 is no mandate at all.
    There can be serious consequences when the majority have to submit to the minority. 37-63.
    Is it not time for us to to campaign even more vigorously for a fair electoral system ?
    I propose inviting all who share my concern to meetings in September. Please respond and indicate your interest or support. 37-63
    The inaugural meeting is Wednesday Sept 10 at 7 pm in Committee Room 3a in the House of Lords

  • My impression was that the Labour peers were happy to defeat the Government, in the Lords, relying on cross benchers etc, but that there could be a constitutional crisis if opposition peers were in a majority and the Government could not get its business through.I do not know enough about it to comment further,but hope Cameron does not stuff the Lords with more and more Tories to compensate as the upper limit re seating them all, must have been reached.

  • Gwyn Griffiths 27th Jun '15 - 9:10pm

    Mr Wallace,

    I grew up on a Council estate.

    I have never found that an obstacle to progress in the Liberal Democrats.

  • No Liberal Democrat should ever answer a question relating to the House of Lords without stating that it should be wholly scrapped and replaced with an elected second chamber.

  • Peter Galton 28th Jun '15 - 8:42pm

    If the Conservatives, Labour or any one else does not like it then the House of Lords.

  • I can only think of one place that is less representative than the House of Lord s…. and that’s the House of Commons.

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