Westminster mail

Lord Norton

pict01391At the beginning of each year, I table a Question asking how many items of mail were received in the Palace of Westminster in the previous year and what proportion is received in the House of Lords.

I have just had the answer to my Question for 2008.  Last year, 4,135,144 items of post were received by the Houses of Parliament.  The House of Lords received an estimated 15 per cent of this number, or approximately 620,271 items.  The figures do not include parcels, courier items or internal mail.

The difference between the two Houses is explained in large part by the fact that we do not get constituency mail and, to some degree, because outside organisations are not always aware of the value of the Lords.  In absolute terms, though, the figure is not insubstantial and, given our limited (or non-existent) secretarial resources, dealing with it can place quite a burden on members.  The figure also does not do justice to the amount of material in our mail trays.   A good part, sometimes the majority, of my mail is internal mail and there is an increasing volume of e-mail correspondence (though again much of that is internal, emanating for example from all-party groups).  Keeping up with it is certainly a challenge.

5 comments for “Westminster mail

  1. Tory Boy
    24/02/2009 at 9:09 pm

    I wonder how peers accommodate themselves if they live outside London unlike the Commons they are not paid nor given 2nd home expenses, therefore I presume they stay in a hotel.

  2. Croft
    25/02/2009 at 11:34 am

    It’s trivial to find and send mail to your MP – 101 websites can tell you all you need to know. The Lords will always be more problematic as it’s not simple for the average person to work which peer(s) to contact.

    I’ve often thought the house could do with some easily accessible list(s) of peers by region/county(whether by birth/residence)/interests so people have a straightforward way of contacting peers who may have a natural interest or knowledge of particular places relevant to the issue.

  3. lordnorton
    25/02/2009 at 9:38 pm

    Tory Boy: Peers can claim an overnight accommodation allowance (up to £174) for the days they attend. This can cover the cost of a hotel or contribute to the upkeep of a house or flat in London.

    Croft: There are various publications that list the e-mail addresses of MPs and peers. However, for the sort of information you mention, one would have to go to a publication like Dod’s Parliamentary Companion. If you are looking for local or regional links, looking at titles and home addresses (if given) would be quite a laborious task.

  4. Croft
    26/02/2009 at 10:24 am

    “looking at titles and home addresses (if given) would be quite a laborious task.”

    Exactly why I thought a central list pre sorted would be helpful. Thumbing though Dods – which few have a copy – is pretty hit and miss. I do have lovely images with some of the titles which bare no relation to the present or occasionally even former residence of peers. In other cases they are not even in the UK – though no doubt Lord Allenby would be most assiduous in helping the residents of the Kibbutz of Megiddo. What poor Lady Mountbatten would do if she were still in the house with a postbag from Burma 😉

  5. 04/03/2009 at 9:29 am

    I know it’s not a complete solution but a quick first step may be to look at a list like:


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