Isn’t this just marvelous?

Yes, I know it’s also ridiculous:

The Duke of Wellington, a hereditary peer whose father was stripped of the right to sit in the House of Lords 16 years ago, has been elected to the upper house under an arcane procedure invoked after the retirement of another peer.

Charles Wellesley, the ninth holder of the title, won a byelection that took place following the retirement of Lord Luke, a Conservative, in June.

Under the House of Lords Act 1999, Lords were permitted to elect 90 hereditary peers to remain sitting in the reformed second chamber, with 666 peers being stripped of their 800-year-old right to sit at Westminster.

When a hereditary peer dies or takes voluntary retirement a byelection is held. Peers who have a hereditary title are eligible to stand in a byelection and only sitting hereditary peers in the same party grouping as the departing peer can vote.

A total of 48 other hereditary Conservative peers voted in the election under the alternative vote system and, after four transfers of votes, the Duke ended up with 21 votes, beating the Marquess of Abergavenny and the Earl of Harrowby, who picked up six votes each.

48 people vote on which of roughly 700 people should join the upper legislative house of the country.

Quite mad, of course it is, but still rather wonderful. It’s not even one of those odd but wonderful hallowed by tradition things, it’s not even two decades old yet. And I’m sure it’s not logical nor perhaps even sensible. But I like it and so there.

12 thoughts on “Isn’t this just marvelous?”

  1. Blairite fudge because the coward didn’t have the guts to actually implement the full reforms he’d promised. Well, maybe coward, maybe he realised when in office that it’d involve taking powers away from himself and tone couldn’t be doing with that sort of thing.

  2. Only the temporary is truly permanent.

    Our evolved constitution is a series of bodgies and patches that ends up working better than most written constitutions devised by pointy heads. Just like a market economy outdoes a planned one.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    Blair turned the House of Lords into fish soup and in coming years we will regret it is no longer a thriving aquarium.

    I find this depressing. We got rid of people like this and got people like Dianne Abbot instead. Well, we will once she is, inevitably, ennobled.

    Throw out all the Life Peers. Bring back the Hereditaries.

  4. A British Copyeditor

    No, it’s not marvelous. It’s marveLLous. The internet has enough Americanisms all over it without you adding to them.

  5. Widdershins – “Good idea. Lord Lucan might turn up for his 300 quid…”

    He might but I doubt it. In the circumstances. But if he did, does anyone doubt he would be of better moral character than virtually all the Life Peers? After all, you know, assuming he did what he appears to have done, he did the gentlemanly thing (having killed his nanny by mistake, that is mistaking her for his wife) by stepping outside and being gone for some time.

    Still if he is still around, he would have a wealth of life experiences and knowledge that would serve the House well.

  6. I quite like it, too, but it is amusing that this system was introduced as part of reforms which were supposed to make the Lords more democratic. How about we do the same for the Commons: have the Cabinet elect our MPs? Would that be democratic too?

  7. So that’s how to get rid of the huge oversupply of their Lordships. Give the hereditaries the power to vote out Life Peers until the total number is something more sensible. Wot a good idea.

  8. My browser displays a phone icon in your quoted text which, when hovered over, says “call: 800-year-old”.

    This is taking Rule 34 too far.

  9. So Much For Subtlety

    dearieme – “So that’s how to get rid of the huge oversupply of their Lordships. Give the hereditaries the power to vote out Life Peers until the total number is something more sensible. Wot a good idea.”

    I thought you were going to suggest something involving Lord Lucan. That would be a better way to deal with Blair’s cronies.

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