Partial affections?

Lord Tyler

The House of Lords had the nearest thing it ever has to an almighty row on Wednesday.  Peers on all sides are really angry that the Cabinet game of musical chairs seems to have ended up with no proper seat for the Leader of our House.

I know from experience at both ends of the building (having shadowed the Leader of the Commons for eight years) that the two Leaders have very considerable responsibilities to their respective Houses, over and above their Party and Government roles.  Hence, members of were understandably upset that the new Leader – Baroness (Tina) Stowell of Beeston – had suffered an apparent demotion.

This would imply that the Prime Minister either rates the job as less important than others around the Cabinet table, or simply forgot that there was a limit on the number of people he could pay the full rate.  Either way, it looks like a slap-in-the-face for the Lords.  It’s not entirely clear whether the limit on numbers was actually some statutory restriction on how many could sit as full Cabinet members, or how many to whom he could authorise payment of the full salary.  What made it even more cack-handed was that the appointment of a woman resulted in a sudden, sharp drop in salary from that of her male predecessor.  Surely some mistake!

However, the point I would like to have made is that the decision to pay the shortfall on salary from Conservative coffers makes a bad situation worse.  The Leader of each House has responsibilities to ALL Members, not just to colleagues in the Government let alone to one Party.  We may have the greatest confidence in the integrity of our Leader but the perception will be that she is now at least partly accountable to Conservative Headquarters.  People will naturally think “he who pays the piper plays the tune”.

Having just said Amen to a prayer which warned us against “partial affections”, this muddle will merely encourage suspicion rather than reassure.

5 comments for “Partial affections?

  1. maude elwes
    16/07/2014 at 5:29 pm

    I feel, Lord Tyler, the House you sit in has to face the fact that it is on it’s way out. And, therefore, not revered in the way it once was. Government and its minions have been taken over by a force far more powerful than you realise and they are daring to come out of the closet because they know they have been rumbled. And it is they who are calling the tune you write of. Hold on to your hat, you haven’t seen anything yet.

    Miliband is to visit Obama shortly, and he will be brainwashed into the same mindset as Blair when he returns. It is the first step to being accepted by the CIA as a possible good boy to lead one of its colonies.

  2. MilesJSD
    16/07/2014 at 7:11 pm

    There is
    in real-life-among-the-livers
    an ‘impartial-affection’
    that would have
    your ‘one-human-being’
    successfully thriving
    off just ‘one-human-living’.

    {Therefore your leader’s ‘salary’ should be no different from every other UK human-being’s guaranteed sufficient human-living:
    in this UK case
    145 x 52 = 7,570 pounds-sterling per annum}.

  3. Croft
    18/07/2014 at 11:27 am

    “It’s not entirely clear whether the limit on numbers was actually some statutory restriction on how many could sit as full Cabinet members, or how many to whom he could authorise payment of the full salary.”

    Err. You’re the politician but afaik the position is crystal clear: It’s the number of paid positions that’s regulated by the Ministerial and Other Salaries Act 1975.

    “was that the appointment of a woman resulted in a sudden, sharp drop in salary from that of her male predecessor”

    The more glaring issue if your concern is equality is that yet again, as under Blair, the Leadership of the House seems to be being used as a convenient way to pad out the number of women in High Office. Frankly there are a few very able peers (Lord Howe anyone?) who have been pretty poorly treated.

  4. JH
    18/07/2014 at 2:39 pm

    Lord Cunningham, for one, said ‘the Prime Minister has diminished the standing and rank of this House’. However, such comments take no account of the fact that neither Sir George Young nor Andrew Lansley were, on those terms, ‘members’ of the Cabinet when Leader of the House of Commons. If the status of the Lords is diminished by the reshuffle it is merely replicating the position of the Commons (William Hague being a ‘member’ because it would be most odd for the First Secretary of State not to be).

    Furthermore, the leader of either House is not paid per se. They are paid as Lord Privy Seal, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster or Lord President of the Council as the case may be. The Chancellorship of the Duchy has also been demoted (as it is from time to time).

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