Lots of maidens

We continue to have new peers introduced, most often now three at a time.  The influx of new peers not only puts pressure on space (in the chamber and in office resources) it also means that we are having a large number of maiden speeches.  Today may be a record.  There are no less than seven maiden speeches in a debate on women in society.

About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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7 Responses to Lots of maidens

  1. Croft says:

    I do find it slightly disappointing how empty the house often is when debating important clauses of bills that make real differences (good or bad) to people lives compared to how full to the gunwales it always seems on certain vague discussion debates. I don’t think this was helped by the somewhat tone to some of the speeches.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Croft: Indeed, attendance can be variable. There are certain subjects, such as sex, death and religion that will attract a good attendance and other topics that will not. Quantity, though, should not be confused with quality. Some of the best and most influential debates are those in which relatively few – but extremely well informed – peers participate.

      • Croft says:

        (My last sentence originally contained a more sceptical remark but I removed it without rewriting – somewhat messing with the sentence. )

        I agree sometimes the small debates can be the most interesting. Still I do think it would reflect better on the house if peers did think twice about all rushing to the ‘cuddly animal/apple pie’ (insert your own subject no one is going to launch a tirade against) debates.

        PS is there an unwritten rule that temporal peers give way to spiritual (when the both stand at the same time) as during a debate a few days back this seemed to be implied?

  2. Carl.H says:

    A debate on women ! I thought that was a regular occurrence…in the bar ! And they`re mostly likely maiden speeches too, like a maiden over…no one actually scores !


  3. Carl.H says:

    Labour’s Graham Allen, Chair of the new Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee, complained that the government decision to take the second reading of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill on the first day Parliament returns after the recess (6 September) shows that “despite all of the talk about new politics, the old politics is still alive and well in many parts of Whitehall”.

    Mr Allen says Parliament should have the chance to undertake serious pre-legislative scrutiny through his select committee. The timing announced today effectively allowed only two brief sessions of evidence-taking to inform MPs before second reading.
    That, he says, “plays into the hands of the anti-reform faction who may rightly claim that Parliament is being bounced into accepting this fundamental change to our democracy”.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Carl.H: Indeed, this is an issue of considerable concern. It also came up on Wednesday in the Constitution Committee when we were taking evidence from Peter Riddell, Professor Robert Hazell and Professor Robert Blackburn. They also expressed concern about the limited opportunity for pre-legislative scrutiny. It is a subject on which I am hoping to initiate a debate.

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