I had been approached in March of that year (1998) about taking a peerage – well, Tuesday 24 March to be precise, shortly after 11.00 a.m. I received a ‘phone call out of the blue. I was told things could move fairly quickly. I was then contacted for my CV, for vetting purposes, but thereafter things did not move quickly – indeed, nothing happened for nearly three months. March ended, April came and went, May came and went…
The delay meant that after a while I began to wonder whether something had happened – had the security vetting thrown up something, had William Hague had a change of heart, or had I simply been dreaming I had a ‘phone call? I did see a report that Labour was having problems getting names together for its list, so hoped that was the explanation.
In the event, the new list of peers was announced just after midnight on Friday 19 June. I received a letter from the Prime Minister only a few days before the announcement. That was the first official confirmation of the fact that I hadn’t been dreaming or deemed a security risk. Joy was tinged with a very great sense of relief!
Thereafter the process got under way – seeing Black Rod to agree the title, being informed of when my title would take effect (the forenoon of 1 August) and agreeing with the House authorities the date for my introduction to the Lords (6 October). Things have certainly been busy since. I need hardly add that the wait was certainly worth it.