Peers in Waiting

Baroness Murphy

As my fellow bloggers have said, returning to parliament felt different this time. The sheer numbers of new boys and girls, with more on the way, makes the place feel claustrophobically crowded at question time. I failed to arrive before prayers on tuesday and couldn’t get a seat anywhere. Eventually I squeezed on the back row of the Opposition benches. But it isn’t simply the sense of overcrowding, there’s a sense of the House awaiting major historical change…the bill to create a predominantly elected house is being prepared, the Old Guard is making way for ministers who I don’t recognise. Yesterday Lord McNally announced there would be no State Opening until May 2012, a sensible thing in my view to give parliament a good run at a programme of bills. Lord McNally continues to impress me from the Despatch Box, he has the rare quality of being convincingly honest about his replies and is willing to admit when he doesn’t know or isn’t senior enough in the overall political pecking order to be able to make  a decision.  New Ministers could profitably emulate his style.

The feel of the Chamber as a grand waiting room  is also because we haven’t got stuck into any new bills yet; none are yet tabled to start in the Lords. The Local Government Bill and the Terrorist Asset Freezing Bill were just finishing off from last session. Perhaps it will feel more like normal when we get immersed in new bills as they come from the Commons.

3 comments for “Peers in Waiting

  1. 08/10/2010 at 9:20 pm

    Hmmm – yet another would-be “Peer-for-Peoples’-Democratic-Improvement” plays adolescently-egocentric, this one by truant-ing from House of Lords Opening Prayers –

    – evidently too, this one must surely ride quite high up in the “political pecking order” to be able to flounce herself thus before the Public with such evident immunity !

    Nonetheless, baroness, thanks for the few other words of ‘leakage’ from the inner-sanctum, and that you’re all leaning-back waiting for the backlog to be cleared, and whilst the Commons catches up with you all.

  2. Gareth Howell
    11/10/2010 at 7:43 pm

    “awaiting major historical change…the bill to create a predominantly elected house is being prepared,”

    That will be quite extraordinary, but now that earls, marquises and dukes who are excluded from the House of lords may sit in the HofC(other place)”plus ca change” or however you say that in Italian!

    The trail blazing by the M.Lothian, in his name of Mister, in the 80s and 90s, may become a well worn habit, by many others as well.

  3. Senex
    11/10/2010 at 9:26 pm

    BM: Now that you are part of the inner sanctum so to speak you might ask why the component parts of our UK quasi-federation have four year terms whilst the Commons seeks five. Cutbacks demand that the Commons reconsider and adopt a four year fixed term Parliament.

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