Rumour: Jo Swinson set to be awarded a peerage

This fortnight’s edition of Private Eye is proving to be quite a goldmine. I thoroughly recommend buying a copy at your local newsagent or similar outlet.

In the “HP Sauce” column, referring to the forthcoming Prime Minister’s Dissolution honours list, it says:

…rumours abound at Westminster that the LibDems are about to get their first new peerages since 2015, with one recipient tipped to be recently unseated leader Jo Swinson. She’s already got a CBE, so it should make for quite the nameplate.

I personally think that Jo would make an extremely effective, passionate and knowledgeable member of the House of Lords. A breath of fresh air, one might say.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • It would be an embarrassment.

  • It can also kick her ‘up top’ and out of the way of campaigning agin Tories. Let’s face it she can lick her wounds and come back sadder wiser shooting from the hip.

  • @Paul Walter

    Yes I can understand the case for her joining the Lords team. She would be capable and committed to the cause of Liberalism. Nonetheless it would be embarrassing as we are seen as a party that believes in democratic reform including of the Lords and this looks like hypocrisy.

  • James Blanchard 10th Jan '20 - 5:25pm

    She’s not even 40, she has plenty of time to get back into Parliament the right way instead of what would fairly be portrayed as an undemocratic snub to the voters of Dunbartonshire

  • Barry Lofty 10th Jan '20 - 5:30pm

    Oh no! Not another own goal for the party!


    Two examples of us criticising the Conservatives for putting their own former MPs into the Lords.

    Hopefully this is just a rumour and won’t come to pass. As capable as Jo is, this would simply be an own-goal in terms of image.

  • Andrew Tampion 10th Jan '20 - 5:37pm

    Private Eye is a satirical magazine and necessarily to be relied on.
    In that spirit I was going to write a post deploring yet another appointment to the House of Lords as a reward for political failure. However it then occured to me that making Jo a Peer has the advantage that she could never again be Liberal Democrat Leader* so I am now in favour.
    * At least until the House of Lords is abolished and replaced by an elected second chamber

  • For helping to “get Brexit done”?

  • How many lead balloons can this party drop before it finally rolls over and expires ?

  • Innocent Bystander 10th Jan '20 - 5:59pm

    I think Jo is far too good to be lost in the ‘Elephants’ Graveyard’ with all the has-beens and never-weres
    I am sure she will be a fantastic success at what ever she does next.

  • David Warren 10th Jan '20 - 6:03pm

    @Paul Walter

    How about a 55 year old man from a blue collar background?

    There aren’t many working class peers amongst the Lib Dem ranks.

  • This report did appear in Private Eye, so lets hope it’s just a joke…please…!
    And Paul, sorry the H of L is a bit “experienced” for your liking. Remember age is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act, so be careful there.

  • Richard Underhill 10th Jan '20 - 6:55pm

    David Le Grice 10th Jan ’20 – 6:33pm
    Or do both?

  • This is a ludicrous proposition if true. It seems to me that we have far too many people in power in the party who quite frankly are stuck in a bubble and haven’t a clue how to appeal beyond it. I suspect HQ is full of people who think the election result was not bad and that Jo did a wonderful job.

    We need to have a complete rethink as to how we appeal to the public. The people behind ridiculous ideas like this and the disastrous election campaign need replacing with strategists who are in touch with ordinary voters.

  • Richard Underhill 10th Jan '20 - 7:05pm

    David Blake 10th Jan ’20 – 6:42pm
    Zac Goldsmith also needs to live down his campaign to be mayor of London.
    He is not fit for a government job.

  • Is it true that if I apply for membership of the party I will receive my Lords Admission Pack by the end of the month?

  • John Marriott 10th Jan '20 - 7:29pm

    First Zac Goldsmith and now Jo Swinson. Another case of failing UP?

  • Candidates who are defeated in an election shouldn’t be appointed to the HOL that Parliament. That may be harsh and stop some excellent appointees but if the people wanted you in Parliament they would have said!

    The party has (had) an approach that in the absence of an elected Lords representation there should move to align with GE vote share. CUrrently the Lib Dems have a smidge under 12% of the Lords……

  • Paul Barker 10th Jan '20 - 8:11pm

    A lot of the tiny band of people who comment regularly on LDV do tend to get over-excited about small stuff. The idea that “The Voters” would care where Jo Swinson goes is potty.
    Our objection to the 2 Tory Ministers being put straight into The Lords was because that was done so they could keep their Jobs & save Johnson from doing some Work. The equivalent would be if Jo were to be made a Lord so she could carry on being Leader.
    She is an asset to Our Party & would be great in either The Lords or The Scottish Parliament.

  • It would seem appropriate to consider giving the peerage to an MEP seeing as they are about to be made redundant.

  • Oh no! This would be a very bad move. Hopefully PE has got it wrong.
    As long as the HoL exists, I have no problem with us sending people there after many years of service and having stood down from the HoC. To send someone there just weeks after being rejected by their electors is completely against what this party stands for.
    I have a lot of sympathy for Jo’s current predicament, but I’m afraid she would let us all down badly if she accepts a peerage.

  • John Barrett 10th Jan '20 - 11:29pm

    Appointing defeated Liberal Democrat MPs to the Lords has always been a mistake. It is equally wrong for other parties to do this, but we have no say over their actions, we do however have a say over what we do.

    To be rejected by the public and removed from the House of Commons only to be put into the House of Lords shows a complete disregard for democracy and is an insult to the electorate. As others have said, we have scored many own goals recently and we should make a real effort to get our house in order.

    The trouble is that those who want to be in the Lords in the future know the best way of doing this is to ensure that we continue with the embarrassing system that we want to sweep away, but many of our “senior” MPs, friends of the leader, donors and others, wish to be part of.

    I assume the Private Eye article is a joke, if not, our party will be a joke.

  • Peter 10th Jan ’20 – 7:05pm:
    Is it true that if I apply for membership of the party I will receive my Lords Admission Pack by the end of the month?

    Only if you agree to campaign to revoke any move to four-day tests.

  • It is pretty normal for ex-party leaders to get peerages. Natalie Bennett got one in 2019 having led the Greens in the 2015GE. Ming Cambell is now a Lord also.

  • I agree Norman Lamb would be much more valuable to the HoLs than Jo Swindon. Im hoping this rumour isn’t true

  • Yeovil Yokel 11th Jan '20 - 3:46am

    She is still young and very capable and has much to offer British politics as an elected representative, and I’m not sure that we will have to wait another 4 or 5 years for another General Election – I think she should bide her time and be poised to win back her old seat or, in the unlikely event that Scotland becomes independent with no representation in Westminster, a seat elsewhere. It would be a massive, massive error for her to accept a peerage.

  • Paul Barker 10th Jan ’20 – 8:11pm…………..A lot of the tiny band of people who comment regularly on LDV do tend to get over-excited about small stuff. The idea that “The Voters” would care where Jo Swinson goes is potty…………..Our objection to the 2 Tory Ministers being put straight into The Lords was because that was done so they could keep their Jobs & save Johnson from doing some Work. The equivalent would be if Jo were to be made a Lord so she could carry on being Leader…………

    It is the idea that “The Voters” would differentiate between the reasons for the Tory ex mininsters and a LibDem ex leader, ending up in the HoL, that is ‘potty’.
    “We are opposed to political peerages except when it’s one of ours, because…etc,” is an unwinnable argument.

  • Dennis Wake 11th Jan '20 - 9:33am

    It is nice to know that apart from Paul Barker & co most of those who post on here are concerned about what the voters think and want a total shake up of the party and a clear out of those who have brought it to its knees. Jo Swinson may be able but she lacks judgement. She might be fit for a reformed Upper House in years to come but not now. Bring back democracy.

  • LibDems manage to split the Left vote and keep the Tories in power, therefore deserve to be rewarded – many failed politicians were shunted off to the EU, now that is closed expect the Lords to be filled to overflowing.

  • Ronald Murray 12th Jan '20 - 10:28am

    No she should not accept if offered a seat. Let her come back via the Scottish Parliament as Willie Rennie did and try again. She probably lost her seat due to spending too much time on the national campaign.

  • Neil Sandison 12th Jan '20 - 12:12pm

    Far too early ,and what would she get a peerage for ? There is usually some tentative reason for getting a gong or “elevation ” or is it now become the house of failure .

  • Alex Macfie 12th Jan '20 - 2:33pm

    Frank West: Actually it was Labour campaigning in our target seats (one that Labour could never win but we could given the right circumstances) that “split the vote”. Lib Dems only ran token campaigns in seats where we knew we had no hope but Labour had a good chance (e.g. Canterbury).

  • Christopher Curtis 12th Jan '20 - 7:07pm

    I hope it’s not true. Haters are gonna hate, but you don’t have to give them ammunition.
    We either think that patronage is a rotten system or we don’t.

  • @Frank West – “LibDems manage to split the Left vote and keep the Tories in power”.

    No, that was all Labour’s doing. Labour preferred to hand the Conservatives seats, rather than work tactically, with the other opposition parties, to help defeat them. And they maintained that position even when it was obvious their campaign was going badly.

  • I’ve got to agree with those expressing dismay and am very concerned to see the idea defended by Paul Walter. It is a terrible idea and if it is being floated by the powers-that-be it seems they have learnt nothing.

    This is not a personal attack on Jo Swinson, who I wish was still leader and who I hope will soon be back in the Commons, maybe via Holyrood.

    Steve Comer’s suggestion is quite right. Please think again.

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