Party animals?

Lord Tyler

I am extremely grateful to Matthew Purvis, one of the extremely assiduous and analytically astute researchers in the House of Lords Library, who has confirmed with some statistics my suspicion that former MPs and councillors (nominees of their parties, all) are indeed disproportionately represented among the active membership (those who attend and vote) of the Lords.

I am writing with regard to your latest post on Lords of the Blog in which you mention the voting propensity of Members of the Lords who have served as a Member of Parliament or as a local councillor.  (http://lordsoftheblog.net/2012/03/12/parliamentary-memory-lane/). By my calculations, in the current session (as at 12 March 2012) Peers who served as an MP/councillor have voted, on average, in 61.18% of divisions compared to 48.26% of the whole House. I would note that those who are former MPs/councillors are more likely to take a political whip in the House of Lords. Voting of peers is explored further in the House of Lords Library Note, Party and Group Strengths and Voting (21 June 2011, LLN 2011/022; http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/LLN-2011-022).

Matthew Purvis

The figures above do not take account, of course, of the various current and former MSPs, AMs, MLAs and MEPs who sit here.  It seems election is far from inimical to members of the Lords, even while it remains strangely controversial as a method of gaining a seat there!  Do also have a look at Matthew’s excellent and interesting research on regional representation in the Lords.  It shows that of those English Peers who publicly disclose an address (506 in all), 54% are from London or the South East, with only about 3% from the North East.  http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/LLN-2012-007

12 comments for “Party animals?

  1. Lord Blagger
    14/03/2012 at 4:57 pm

    It’s back to a basic problem with the Lords.

    When the electorate have democratically decided to sack an MP … , the PM and others decide to force that person on the UK population, by putting them in the Lords.

    i.e. Directly sticking two fingers up to the electorate.

    So do we have to ask for the names of people forced onto us?

    • 15/03/2012 at 11:08 am

      It would be interesting to see a breakdown of how many ex-MP Lords lost their seats in the Commons, and how many retired. My impression is that most fall into the second category – certainly of the 2010 intake that is the case.

      Of course, with an elected upper house, it would be the same. A high profile MP losing his seat would simply be selected for a dead-cert seat in the Lords under PR.

      • Gareth Howell
        16/03/2012 at 7:59 am

        It would be interesting to see a breakdown of how many ex-MP Lords lost their seats in the Commons, and how many retired.

        ie how many MPs who lost their seats merely retired in to well deserved oblivion?

        A certain number never want to set eyes on the Palace of Westminster again. Having family in Oz or America makes no difference
        since they want the title Lord/Baron, and to be able to attend the best club in London when they are in London/UK so that would not be a pointer. (That is a “Commonwealth” Catch-22)

        ALL of the Labour side, which is the largest party in the House of lords, have either lost their seats, or retired, and entered the HofL straightaway.

        There are a few who do not. I could,and don’t. I should think Lord Blagger could, and does not, but I don’t know about that!

      • Twm O'r Nant
        16/03/2012 at 11:14 am

        Jonathen,

        A high profile MP losing his seat would simply be selected for a dead-cert seat in the Lords under PR

        The news spin would certainly be different!
        So somebody losing his seat under FPTP would gain another with PR? And if he didn’t?

        If for example he were a minister in the govt and had to resign, and could then not
        defend his “record” publicly, and in the Place where it counts, some would deem it unreasonable.

        Trial by electorate.

    • Gar Howell
      15/03/2012 at 7:17 pm

      PM and others decide to force that person on the UK population, by putting them in the Lords.

      It is not like that, but that is certainly how it seems. If a fella is wandering the corridors with nowt to do, and he is finished, by general agreement, with the other place, he looks for somewhere to sit.

      Now Lord Blagger Read my lips and tell me what color of leather he chooses.

      No!No! Not pink!

  2. Edward Brunsdon
    14/03/2012 at 10:02 pm

    Glass half-full / half-empty ?

    It still means 38.82% of Peers who take part in divisions are not party animals as opposed to pretty much zero in the Commons.

  3. MilesJSD
    15/03/2012 at 2:54 am

    Party “animals” –
    that’s a big fat joke !

    Don’t flatter them

    (and don’t think we real-social, on-the-ground-having-to-leg-it-everywhere, ‘human animals’ are stupid, either):

    everyone knows those ‘parliamentarians’ spend most of their Time
    (actually it’s “Our” time they’re wasting)

    sitting in taxpayer-funded taxis, private cars, aeroplanes, luxury-liners, trains, padded parliamentary, club-privileged, electoral “surgery”* seats, and in taxpayer-funded multiple-homes and hotels.
    * (electoral “sick-animal” surgeries no doubt ?)

    Not only do they not ‘move’ themselves, as any grandly-funded healthy and decent animal should,
    but your words about them fail to ‘move’ me.

  4. Gareth Howell
    15/03/2012 at 9:41 am

    Surely the one reason there are so many formerly elected people in the said chamber is that they understand the procedure for entering?

    Whereas if they were selection board types, they might well not do.

    The selection board is in that sense a succesful attempt to create an electoral college, which for self selecting former elected representatives, there is none of.

    It is a convenient paradox, for the continued existence of two chambers, rather than the uni-cameral method supported by the Labour left, and actually some notable tories too, but that is another matter.

    The reactionary socialist is prepared to shelve his principles, and wander in to an elitist chamber, at his own convenience.

    • Gar Howell
      17/03/2012 at 6:23 pm

      The reactionary socialist is prepared to shelve his principles, and wander in to an elitist chamber, at his own convenience.

      Possibly pretending to himself that he wants to reform the chamber from within and do himself out of a job. Fat chance!

      At least there are three former PMs who seem to stick to the unicameral principle, but that too is only seeming.

  5. Lord Blagger
    15/03/2012 at 11:48 am

    We can axe the Lords. 150 million a year saved.

    For 20 million on top of the 100 million current cost of voter registration, we can have referenda by proxy.

    You choose a proxy MP, any MP, and they cast proxy votes for the final say on any bill.

    So if you like Vince Cable (proof of being bonkers in my book), but live in Gordon Brown’s constituency, you get to have a say in two ways.

    1. Vince does attend, Brown doesn’t, so your vote counts
    2. You probably don’t like Brown’s policies, so you get to express a view.

  6. maude elwes
    15/03/2012 at 1:56 pm

    Is now, and always has been, unrepresentative of the population as a whole.

    Reason, appointment rather than performance rated. As is the Commons. And getting more so, rather than less.

  7. ladytizzy
    17/03/2012 at 1:32 pm

    Can Mr Purvis break down the MP/councillor figures by their date of entry to the HoL, and give the number of years served as an MP/councillors compared with years served in Hol? Also, what other jobs did, or do, these people had, or have?

Comments are closed.