The media variously cover the comments or activities of Lord Patten as Chair of the BBC Trust. They also variously refer to the work of Lord Hunt as Chair of the Press Complaints Commission. The only problem is that Lord Patten is not Chair of the BBC Trust and Lord Hunt is not Chair of the Press Complaints Commission.
John Patten, the former Conservative Education Secretary, is Lord Patten. He was created a peer before Chris Patten – who does chair the BBC Trust- was ennobled. Chris Patten is Lord Patten of Barnes. As for Lord Hunt, he died some time ago. David Hunt, who chairs the Press Complaints Commission, is Lord Hunt of Wirrall. Given that the original Lord Hunt is no longer with us, could one not refer to Lord Hunt of Wirrall as Lord Hunt? The only problem with this is that there is in the House also Lord Hunt of King’s Heath (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) and Lord Hunt of Chesterton.
At the Political Studies Award ceremony last night, former Chancellor and Foreign Secretary Lord Howe of Aberavon was presenting one of the awards. He was introduced as Lord Howe. He pointed out he wasn’t Lord Howe. I am variously introduced as Lord Norton. Lord Norton is a hereditary peer who lives in Warwickshire. He was in the House until the House of Lords Act 1999 took effect. We sometimes got each other’s mail.
I don’t think any of this creates a crisis of identity for any of the peers involved, but there are times when it does help to get it right as to who one is talking about. That’s even without mentioning the need not to confuse one’s Lord Taylors and Lord Blacks…