Artificial organs and puzzling questions

Baroness Murphy

First blog: a good day to start as I’ve been doing a typical day’s work in the Lords. Last week Lord Crisp happened to mention to me he had a question down for this coming Thursday on artificial organs–mechanical heart pumps, plastic corneas, lung simulators and so on and asked if I might contribute. I…

The most fanciable peers?

Lord Norton

It appears that the Sky News team have named their most fanciable MPs. Not to be outdone when it comes to generating lists, the doyen of list-makers and bloggers, Iain Dale, has invited nominations for the most fanciable political journalists. Why is it that when such lists are compiled, the Lords never get a look…

Lords and Senate

Lord Norton

The fact that the race for the US Presidency is essentially (and unusually) between members of the US Senate (Obama, Clinton and McCain) does serve to emphasise the differences between the UK second chamber (the Lords) and the US second chamber (the Senate). One is not likely to see a fight for the premiership between…

What's in a name?

Lord Norton

Both Houses are not sitting this week. A few years ago, the House of Commons introduced a ‘constituency week’ in February for MPs. As the House of Lords now adopts the same recess dates as the Commons (though that may change when business is heavy), it too now rises for the same week. A little…

Frances D'Souza: Work goes on in the Recess

Baroness D'Souza

There is always adminstrative work to be done in the Independent Crossbench Peers’ office and the top of the list seems always to be desk space! This is one of the most pressing issues and will not be resolved until the Millbank site becomes fully functional in 2015. It says something for the spirit and…

The Barnett formula

Lord Norton

The Barnett formula is the name given to the formula that determines the distribution of public funds in the different parts of the UK. The way the formula works, Scotland receives more per capita (as does Northern Ireland and Wales) than England. It is controversial, not least in terms of the current debate about the…

Permission to demonstrate

Lord Soley

The question of rights to demonstrate in Parliament Square and Downing Street came up yesterday. Following criticism of police action against demonstrators in Downing Street the Act that requires you to obtain permission prior to a demonstration is under review. The problem is about numbers. Parliament has always guarded the right to free and unrestricted…

Sheep

Lord Tyler

The public, egged on by the media, think that MPs – and Peers too perhaps – are just mindless robots. They accuse Parliamentarians of being the creatures of the Party Whips, voting as they are told rather than as they believe. The common perception is of a herd of sheep, rather than a collection of…

Intergovernmental Organisations Select Committee

Lord Soley

We shall be taking evidence from the Government Departments dealing with communicable diseases tomorrow (Monday). This session is open to the public. To attend just come to the House of Lords and ask to go to the Intergovernmental Organisations Select Committee hearing. As long as there is room in the public area (and there should…