Making progress

The Steel Bill – the Private Member’s Bill introduced by Lord Steel – to achieve various changes to the House of Lords (for instance, getting rid of the hereditary peers’ by-election, allowing for the House to expel peers, removing members who don’t attend) cleared its committee stage on Friday.  This constituted excellent, indeed somewhat unexpected, progress.  Although the Bill enjoys widespread support, a small number of peers oppose it.  However, the strength of support was demonstrated in two votes.  The first was on an important procedural motion, which was carried by 175 votes to 16.  The second was on the clause to close off the by-election option for hereditary peers.  This was carried by 142 votes to 18.  (I acted as a teller in both divisions.)  Achieving such a turnout in a division on a Friday is remarkable.  The Bill now goes forward to its Report stage. 

I noticed one interesting family split in the second vote.  Lord Bannside voted for the clause and Baroness Paisley of St George’s voted against.  In other words, Ian Paisley voted in one lobby and his wife in the other.

About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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15 Responses to Making progress

  1. franksummers3ba says:

    Lord Norton,
    I will tell my friends if it comes up that I heard from an inside source that this October they put a bit of Paisley into the scheme in each of the division lobbies at the House of Lords. Also, that one of my correspondents I named as a most watchable person has gone to earning his bread as a teller. However, there has been great progress in the Steel policy which is a good thing given the industrial economy in our time. I hope I have got the big picture at least — something to keep the folks informed.

  2. Tory Boy says:

    I watched the committee stage of the bill, it was quite odd peers seemed to be confused with the procedure adopted at several points. There also seemed to be time wasting going on with L Trefgarne, The Earl of Caithness and Lady Saltoun of Abernethy, with the many amendments they have put down. I support the bill as I support necessary and sensible reform of the HoL, not abolition as proposed by Cleggy and the coalition.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Other than Baroness Paisley of St Georges, the not contents were mostly hereditary peers, as one can see from a glance at the list and the number of Es, Vs, Ms and even an Ly!

  4. maude elwes says:


    I am capable of surfing the net should I have wanted to do that. This is Lord Norton’s personal blog and I had wanted to have him explain how ‘in House’ elections will improve our situation within the Lords as they are unconnected to the public and are not accountable to them in any respect..

    You are not capable of doing that are you?

    I had believed this was Lord Norton’s personal blog. Not a psuedo American idea of what is and is not personal to our Lords..

    Think of it this way, you blog your President on a matter of his government policy. And instead of the White House answer, you get me assisting you with something you could easliy have done for yourself had you so chosen.

    You see, you are not accountable to the people of this nation. Lord Norton is.

    • ladytizzy says:

      Maud Elwes

      You don’t make the rules. You don’t tell fellow commenters when to have their say on any blog that doesn’t belong to you.

      Frank is quite capable to pass this info to you but he’s far too polite,as is Lord Norton. I really don’t give a rats rear if that doesn’t fit with you.

      • Frank W. Summers III says:

        Lady Tizzy,
        You and I have certainly had a lot of repartee and I have certainly disappeared for periods of time as well.Your defense of that experience is kindly noted although I cannot comment on any of the substance of your remarks otherwise. I merely testify to your position as one representing what has occured. Duke of Waltham the Greek, the Chinese joke disussion, any number of others have brought a UN flavour although none contributed as much as I have for better or for worse or maybe both. I have always said that this particiaption could not likely endure forever and most things “end badly or they would not end”. Nonetheless, my conscience rebukes me very little for having passed on a link.

      • ladytizzy says:

        Frank, long may you continue to express your views from Americaland, along with your contributions to LoNo’s whimsical posts – you crack me up!

      • Lord Norton says:

        ladytizzy: whimsical posts? Moi?

    • JH says:

      Maude Elwes,

      If I may, why do you think Lord Norton is in favour of ‘in house’ elections? He is legislating to abolish the transitional hereditary by-elections and I am not aware of his supporting any other type. Have I missed something? There is an argument that in house elections could add a democratic element and deal with the size of the House while not undermining the primacy of the Commons but I will not make it here.

      • maude elwes says:


        What I was trying to get at was, how can voting that does not include the public be anything other than it already is. The same guys deciding on which man follows their party line the closest and is the best drinking pal they know,. No closer to the needs of the public. In fact, probably further from the democratic thought than we have presently.

        It is not always easy to know where Lord Norton is coming from or even what is in store. I had no view of his thought on this matter, one way or the other, Which is why I wanted to get into it.

        And, yes, you may. How sweet of you to ask. Very aristocratic. If I may.

  5. maude elwes says:

    @ Lord Norton:

    Yes, I do realise those people are already members of the House. However, surely if changes are made, and election rather than selection is a ‘new’ way forward, they will have to be put forward again, similar to re-election to the Commons by MP’s, and so they will have to face possible deselection. No? Otherwise, this entire shake up seems farcical.

    Why bother to go through a ‘cleansing’ and ‘modernization’ of the present situation without making it an effective ‘democratic’ replacement?

    In fact, I fail to see the point of, once again, in House choice with no room for public input.

    Example, Baroness Warsi was unelectable. She could not win a seat in the Commons. So, for reasons unknown, she was foisted on the public by giving her a title in the Lords and working her into a democratically elected government through the back door. Earl Howe, on the other hand, is simply there as a result of birth. Albeit he is said to be exemplary in his role by his colleagues and I can understand he is an excellent choice.

    Nevertheless, his position, like all the others is untennable, when you consider he and Ms Warsi are there for life, regardless of performance. How bizarre is that?

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