House of Lords modernisation

The retirement of 82-year old Lord Luke has triggered a by-election for hereditary peers wishing to join 89 other titled noblemen who for reasons passing understanding are still permitted to vote in the upper chamber. The printed prospectus of candidate statements is something to behold.

Hopefuls include the Duke of Wellington (yes, really), the kitesurfing Earl of Limerick and Lord Biddulph, who wants to make the laws of the land off the back of the following derisory 24-word statement:

Older and wiser? Or never too late.
Being a member of the House of Lords was always fascinating!
It was an honour to serve

But at least he bothered to submit one — unlike former ‘send ’em back’ Monday Club chair Lord Sudley or restaurateur Lord Rathcavan.

Scrapbook’s absolute favourite, however, has to be NHS-hating Lord Ampthill:

A Conservative health minister proposed “a National Health Service”. We should find an affordable successor model.

He certainly hasn’t allowed his 16 years as an elected Conservative councillor to engender a fondness for democracy. Bidding to make the laws of the land with no mandate from the public, Baron Ampthill states — without a shred of irony — that referendums should be ditched because “Parliaments must decide the great issues”.

He then appears to warn his fellow toffs against electing someone who might support reforms, referencing a nobleman who spurned his aristocratic roots to support the French revolution:

“Watch out for Monsieur Chauvelin.”

So are there blue-blooded reds under the beds?


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