House of Lords

Lord Soley

I took part in the debate on Lord Steel’s Bill (David Steel) on Friday. The Bill (House of Lords Cessation of Membership)allows for members of the Lords to retire and it also deals with members who commit criminal offences. I support the Bill. The content is good but it also points towards a more effective way of reforming the Lords than the Government’s blunderbuss approach.
I guessed that David Steel hoped to avoid confusing his Bill with the government one but it was the triumph of hope over experience! I likened it to the hilarious episode of Fawlty Towers ‘Don’t mention the war’ – unfortunately I called it the Monty Python sketch which it wasn’t but people got the point!
In my speech I also suggested changing the name of the House of Lords. I think it is too dated now and people assume we are all dressed in ermine. I am not sure what the best name would be. Senator is popular but it does imply election so if we do go down that road then it will be the best name. If it remains appointed then another name might be more appropriate.
Any suggestions? And yes, I realise that some of you will be tempted to say Fawlty Towers!!
You can read the debate here:

23 comments for “House of Lords

  1. Dave H
    02/07/2012 at 6:33 am

    I think I know what Lord Blagger would change the name to, or at least a variation on a general theme.

    • Lord Blagger
      02/07/2012 at 9:18 am

      Probably not.

      The ideal solution is no name, because it doesn’t exist.

  2. Lord Blagger
    02/07/2012 at 7:46 am

    Except it doesn’t deal with Lords who commit criminal offences does it?

    e.g. Jailed for less than a year – you’re still a Peer.

    Retrospective removal of Peers who’ve been jailed?

    Peers aren’t employed. Why is Steele advocating large redundancy payments for a non-job?

    No mention of why you are exempt from investigation for fraud by the police until the ‘internal investigation’ has taken place?

    No mention of why your “expenses” are exempt from taxation?

    No mention of why you are exempt from money laundering regulations?

    They are all connected.

  3. MilesJSD
    02/07/2012 at 8:00 am

    “Upper House” is also too class-distinctive and insufficiently descriptive, prescriptive and stipulative.


    “Check & Balances House”

    “Peoples’ Defender House”

    “House of Experts”

    “Scrutiny House”

    “House of Sages”


    “House of Review”

  4. Gareth Howell
    02/07/2012 at 8:17 am

    The rule of order of the house of Lords of Interruption in committee debate seems to be rather different from the other place, where I was frequently allowed to make remarks by catching the eye of the chairman.

    In the hofL it is considered to be an “interruption” even after the meeting has been declared closed.

    I did on one occasion, draw the attention of the Chair in the court of appeal, when it met in the corridors, but only through sending a message to the Chairman by way of the Doorman, which is the accepted way in the chamber itself.

    The committee chairmen of the hofL do not seem to have any such courtesy.

    One can scarcely send a message to the chair in a committee, by way of the doorman.

  5. 02/07/2012 at 9:59 am

    The one thing I approved of about the new and “improved” government Daft (sic) Bill is that it seems they have decided to keep the name of the House of Lords even if it becomes an elected chamber.

    I don’t see why we shouldn’t keep this small part of our history and heritage, even if the composition is different. What’s wrong with it being “dated”? We are a country with a long history, unlike many others where all the pomp and ceremony is made up to look like a country with a history.

    If election to the upper chamber from large constituencies makes the name “House of Lords” illogical, then it also makes “House of Commons” illogical as the name derives from “communes”, due to the members representing constituencies.

    And please, please not the “senate”. Why try to make us sound like the US? Why not go the whole hog and make the Commons the House of Representatives?

    • MilesJSD
      03/07/2012 at 8:30 am

      Logically or ‘literally’ then,
      the USA should be calling its Senate
      ‘House of Reviewers’ ?

  6. Gareth Howell
    02/07/2012 at 11:20 am

    suggested changing the name of the House of Lords. I think it is too dated now

    There are so many “Lords” who are not allowed to sit there by virtue of their heredity that
    it is indeed an anachronism to continue calling it that.

    Any man may call himself ‘Lord’, it is true, although it might offend to claim holding an office thereinat,or having the right to election as a Hereditary peer.

    Lord Norton has been informed.

  7. Lord Blagger
    02/07/2012 at 11:42 am

    Still misses the basic problem.

    At no point does democracy apply and we get a say on any issue.

  8. maude elwes
    02/07/2012 at 11:50 am

    Chamber of Appointees would be honest. If you get your way to hang on to this nonsense, why not go for the open option because the way this second chamber is set up is just that, nonsense.

    Steel made a good case for change. But the truth is, you want to hang on to the money and position whether you deserve it or not. And many do not. Which, when you think it through, is very unfair to those who do deserve it and are an asset to the country. All you loafers are tarring the others with the same brush. Odd really when you consider if the public’s poor try to do this with their pittance from the welfare fund, you call them scroungers and cheats. Funny that.

    Once again the kettle calling the pot black.

  9. Lord Blagger
    02/07/2012 at 5:19 pm

    Steel made a good case for change. But the truth is, you want to hang on to the money and position whether you deserve it or not


    So why is Steele offering tens of thousands of pounds tax free as payoffs to Peers? Your money

    • maude elwes
      03/07/2012 at 11:20 am

      You have got me there, LB, no need to pay redundancy to those who are not employees.

      But, its the old friend brigade, can’t do that to old Booley now can we? Not cricket is it?

      Then again, it could be that the redundancy money is a ‘keep your mouth shut payment.’ A contract to keep people from blurting out all the closet shenanigans. Similar to divorce settlements to keep the famous ex wife’s mouth firmly closed.

      • Lord Blagger
        03/07/2012 at 1:10 pm

        Just shows the Lords for what it is.

        A scam to extract money from taxpayers.

        2,700 pounds a day, per Peer.

  10. Gareth Howell
    03/07/2012 at 7:15 am

    Am I also right in thinking that Some of the 23 supreme court judges no longer take the title “Lord”, unless they decide to sit in the House?

  11. Tory Boy
    03/07/2012 at 11:29 am

    Keep the House of Lords and keep Peerages as a title!

  12. Frank W. Summers III
    03/07/2012 at 11:31 am

    “The House of Quasi-Democratic Usurpers of Aristocratic Position”?

  13. Lord Soley
    Lord Soley
    03/07/2012 at 5:05 pm

    Lord Blagger. What do you make of this from Lord Davies in the same debate:
    Let me mention a few names that will be familiar to noble Lords. Jimmy Maxton was imprisoned for a speech he made in Glasgow in the middle of the First World War. Arthur Jenkins was imprisoned at the beginning of the 1920s for aiding and abetting an illegal strike. George Lansbury-I put it to noble Lords that there has been no finer human being or man of greater integrity in British politics over the centuries-went to jail in 1913, just before the First World War, for a speech in which he supported the suffragette movement. Look at the large number-I think dozens in all-of members of the Irish Parliamentary Party who went to jail under the Coercion Acts that we passed here in the 19th century, including Parnell and Redmond who are two enormous figures of Irish history.

    • Lord Blagger
      03/07/2012 at 9:19 pm

      The other point that’s relevant, is look at the laws you think should be broken. It’s all laws that that state has used to suppress people.

      In other words, laws passed by people like you are the laws you think its OK to break.

      • maude elwes
        12/07/2012 at 10:45 am

        I agree with LB all those cited by Lord Soley were political prisoners who practiced freedom of expression. They did not misuse their position to fill their pockets with money obtained illegally by fraud of the public purse.

        And they still lock people up today for stating what they believe are facts or wrong information given out by government. They lock people up for their thoughts let alone their words.

        Whether you despise what a person says or thinks is not cause to incriminate them. Freedom of expression is a right of all free people. And so this fashion of charging and jailing idiots for their thoughts, regardless of what those thoughts may be, is in itself, unlawful.

        Time for a re-think.

  14. Lord Blagger
    03/07/2012 at 6:22 pm

    So what you’re saying is that you want to pick and choose the laws you want to break.

    My take on it is that you’ve passed plenty of similar laws.

    For example, what about the law that exempts you from money laundering regulations?

  15. Gareth Howell
    04/07/2012 at 5:10 am

    So what you’re saying is that you want to pick and choose the laws you want to break.

    Isn’t that so with all law makers and law making.

    As one new Lady MP so wisely remarked, some years ago, “It is unfortunate that the laws we make apply to everybody; I hadn’t realised”

  16. Lord Blagger
    04/07/2012 at 2:06 pm

    Except they aren’t. MPs and Peers have exempted themselves from the laws they use to control others.

    1. Investigation by the tax man
    2. Money laundering.

    Now why would they need those exemptions unless they are criminals?

  17. Twm O'r Nant
    06/07/2012 at 10:14 am

    Re my post number 6 on this thread:

    The answer is that a member of the public who must be an “honorable gentleman” in parliamentary peers’ language, has to find a
    doorkeeper, possibly by going to the Lords’ lobby, to ask them to deliver one’s card to the relevant chairman of committee at which one may wish to intervene!

    That would not be an interruption, but an intervention.

    Earls and others do the same when they wish to speak to any person in a committe room of the other place, whether member of the public or committee person. ie they ask the Doorkeeper to deliver a message to the chairman of the said committee, requesting the presence of the said individual outside.


    Next time I go to Lord Hannah’s committee on
    Global development, with all my linguistic philosophy,at the ready, I shall remember now what to do, not merely raise my hand and hope to be heard! THAT IS an interruption for which the cells are a remedy for the unwary, although unikely!!

    Any involvement even with the witness, AFTER the meeting has been declared closed, is STILL an interruption, according to the said chairman.

    That is most certainly not the case in the other place, although with eminent persons VIPs one naturally has to enquire of those close to the witness whether one may address
    the VIP informally; the wish is usually granted.



    My complements to Lord Richard of Dyfed

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