I am in the process of tidying up my desk in the Lords. Unlike MPs, peers do not have individual offices. Instead, we are allocated desk space in a room with several other peers (if we are lucky that is – not all peers get desks). In really small offices, there may be just two desks, but in the larger offices one can have up to ten. I am in one of the latter. It can get very busy when the House is sitting – it is not unusual for two or three of us still to be working at 10.00 p.m. The picture (above left) shows my desk. It is a fairly confined space. However, I love it and I have the benefit of the window overlooking Westminster Abbey.
There is a notable contrast with my university office (above right). The picture shows only my desk in what is a large room: I also have an adjoining room – my book collection became so large I had to expand; I managed to get external funding to convert the office next door and to have a hole knocked in the wall to link the two. The office is ideal both for teaching and for research. I can get up to fourteen students in for a class and I have shelving for several thousand books. In the Lords, I can usually accommodate one visitor and there is no room for a bookcase. What printed material I have is stored under the desk. Let no one say that peers work in luxury in the Lords.