The results of the other Lib Dem Parliamentary contest – Lords Dholakia and Alderdice elected

Simon Hughes was not the only Deputy Leader elected last night

While Simon was elected deputy of the parliamentary party in the House of Commons (though in reality he’ll be known as the deputy leader of the party), Lord (Navnit) Dholakia was re-elected unopposed as deputy leader of the parliamentary party in the House of Lords.

Lord Dholakia, who will continue to support Lord (Tom) McNally in his role as Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, commented:

There was an overwhelming turnout in support of the new structure for the Liberal Democrat Paliamentary Party in the House of Lords. Lord McNally and I are looking forward to working with the new team.”

Interestingly the Lib Dem peers have created a new post – with the slightly antiquated title, Convenor – to chair a backbench forum for Lib Dem peers. (This is, I guess, the equivalent of the Chair of the parliamentary party in the Common, a post held by Lorely Burt).

The results for this new post of Convenor were as follows:

    John Alderdice 59 votes;
    Joan Walmsley 10 votes.
    There were no spoiled ballot papers or papers returned unmarked.

Lord Alderdice commented:

I am honoured by the confidence my colleagues have shown in me and excited by the opportunity to contribute to the work of the party in the Lords, especially with new and challenging opportunities of coalition government.

“The Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party has a broad and invaluable range of skills, experience, ability and integrity. I am proud to be part of it and delighted to have the opportunity to serve it in this new role.”

Baroness (Jane) Bonham-Carter was elected to the position of Deputy Convener in the same vote.

The results for this new post of Convenor were as follows:

    Jane Bonham-Carter 43 votes;
    Kishwer Falkner 24 votes.
    There were no spoiled ballot papers and 2 papers were returned unmarked.

Lord Alderdice and Lady Bonham-Carter will now be tasked with providing an essential link between backbench Lib Dem peers and their colleagues serving in the coalition government.

For those interested in finding out more about the party’s leading peers, here are their biographies:

    Lord Dholakia became a life peer in 1997. He was an assistant whip before being elected President of the Liberal Democrats in 1999 and again in 2002. He previously worked for the Commission for Racial equality and was a member of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain. Since 1992 he has been a council member of the Howard League for Penal Reform and a member of the editorial board of the Howard Journal of Criminology. In the House of Lords he has been Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Home Affairs, and on Communities, and currently sits on the Sub-Committee on Lords’ Interests and the House of Lords Appointments Commission which vets nominees for peerages.

    Lord Alderdice was formerly Leader of Northern Ireland’s Alliance Party, and then the first Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly. He was President of Liberal International, the worldwide body of more than 100 liberal political parties, as well as a member of the IMC (the international monitoring commission put in place by the British, Irish and US Governments to monitor terrorist activity and security normalization in Northern Ireland). In 1996 he was elected to the Northern Ireland Forum for Political Dialogue, and worked for a settlement through his leadership of the Alliance delegation at the Multi-Party Talks which finally produced the Good Friday Agreement on April 10, 1998. He became a life peer in 1996.

    Baroness Bonham Carter worked as a producer and editor at the BBC then Channel 4. She was Liberal Democrat Director of Communications during the 1997 general electio before returning to a career in television in 1998. After becoming a life peer in 2004, she became Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Broadcasting and the Arts. She was a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on the BBC Charter Review 2005 – 2006, and the House of Lords sub committee on Home Affairs 2004-2005/2006-2007.

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This entry was posted in News and Parliament.


  • Convener’s not an antiquated word – it’s still widely used here in Scotland. The name actually suggests someone drawing together a meeting and gaining consensus rather than leading and directing a discussion which being the Chairman tends to sugges.

  • Jeremy Hargreaves 10th Jun '10 - 4:35pm

    I was going to say what KL has about the convenor term.

    In the Conservative Commons party, the 1922 committee comprises all MPs who are non-Ministers. This is an identifiable group with some interests separate from the quite large number of Conservative MPs who are also Ministers.

    Why on earth the Lib Dem peers have felt the need to create their own 1922 committee specifically to exclude the 5 of their number who have government roles (3 of them as Whips) is a mystery comprehensible surely only to those inside the Lords Parliamentary Party….

  • Ian Sanderson 11th Jun '10 - 7:45am

    “the slightly antiquated title, Convenor”
    Convenor is not only a Scottish term, but is widely used in the Presbyterian church in other places. So Lord Alderdice, whose father was a Prsebyterian minister in Belfast and Ballymena, should have no difficulty with it!

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