I was introduced into the House of Lords on Tuesday, 6 October 1998, so today is the fifteenth anniversary of my introduction. The picture (right) was the formal photograph taken in the Robing Room following the ceremony. For the introduction, my supporters were Lord Newton of Braintree (Tony Newton), former Leader of the House of Commons, and Lord Weatherill, former Speaker of the House of Commons, both distinguished parliamentarians – sadly neither no longer with us – and chosen to reflect my academic interest in Parliament.
Shortly after I joined the Lords, I was invited by William Hague, then Leader of the Opposition, to chair the Conservative Party’s Commission to Strengthen Parliament – we reported in 2000 – and in 2001 I was appointed by the House to chair the newly-created Constitution Committee. As regular readers will know, most of my parliamentary activity has taken the form of committee work rather than chamber activity. I tend to be selective when speaking in the chamber on the grounds that one is more effective by choosing one’s contributions carefully rather than indiscriminately.
The fifteen years have flown by. At least I like to think that I still look pretty much as in the photograph. (In facial appearance that is; I don’t mean to imply I regularly go about wearing ermine.) Life continues to be the equivalent of keeping several plates spinning on the top of sticks, though I like to think with a little more purpose than keeping plates spinning….