The House of Lords is settling the new membership of its Select Committees, all of which fell into abeyance with the general election. There are 16 of them, and the European Union one has 7 subcommittees. I am pleased to have been appointed a member of the House of Lords Communications Committee, the remit of which is to consider the media and the creative industries. That will make a change from my previous committee, Merits of Statutory Instruments, on which I served for 3 years, and which scrutinised over 1000 statutory instruments (delelgated legislation) a year.
I have said before that there is less scientific expertise in the Commons after the election than there was before. So it was especially interesting to note the new membership of the Lords Science and Technology Committee, announced on 22 June. It includes, amongst others, Lord Cunningham (PhD in Chemistry); Lord Krebs, Professor of Zoology and former chair of the Food Standards Agency; Lord Methuen, electrical engineer; Baroness Neuberger, long associated with the NHS and medical ethics; Lord Patel, former president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists; Lord Rees, astronomer and President of the Royal Society; Earl Selborne, biologist and environmentalist; Lord Wade, food industry; Lord Warner, former NHS Minister and Lord Winston, baby expert and polymath. Match that, Commons, if you can. If the Lords were all elected, that level of scientific expertise would never be attained. It serves to inform, curb or sometimes extend Government policies on science.