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MP calls for end to practice of allowing Lords to stand for election at Senedd and Holyrood

27 Dec 2022 2 minute read
Tommy Sheppard. Picture by David Woolfall (CC BY 3.0).

An MP has called for an end to the practice of allowing Lords to stand for election at the Senedd or Holyrood.

Politicians made peers in the House of Lords are not allowed to stand for election at the House of Commons.

Yet they are allowed to stand for elections in the Welsh and Scottish parliaments. Wales’ current Health Minister, Eluned Morgan, and one of the favourites to become the next First Minister, has been a life peer in the House of Lords since 2011.

The former Llywydd of the Senedd, Dafydd Elis-Thomas, was made a life peer in 1992.

But SNP MP for Edinburgh East Tommy Sheppard who is the party’s spokesperson on constitutional issues at Westminster said that it was time to close what he called a “constitutional loophole”.

“Its very existence is a stain on our democracy, one that can only be wiped by abolishing the upper house,” he told the Scottish National newspaper.

“It smacks of arrogance and entitlement that unelected peers can dip in and out of the Lords, choosing when they want to cash in on £332 a day on top of their Holyrood or Senedd salaries.

“With the Tories, Labour, and Liberal Democrats all having a track record in standing their unelected chums for election, there is no hope of this changing under Westminster control.

“It’s sadly just one part of this broken Westminster system, and one we look forward to escaping with independence.”

Health Minister Eluned Morgan is a member of the House of Lords. Picture by the Welsh Government.

Professor Meg Russell, the director of the Constitution Unit at University College London, however said that the rule was in place because the House of Lords was supposed to act as a check on the House of Commons.

The House of Lords did not scrutinise legislation from the Senedd and Holyrood in the same way, she said.

“The devolved legislatures are clearly entirely separate institutions to Westminster, so the same in principle objection does not apply,” she said.

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1 year ago

Fair enough. If peers are not allowed to stand for Westminster why should they be able to stand for the devolved parliaments? By all means let them stand if they relinquish the ermine and all the trimmings but they don’t, do they? While at it let’s do away with parachuting party favorites into constituencies. Let the local party members select their preferred candidate who is more likely to have done something useful in that locality.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

A title is no guarantee of integrity (quite the reverse) and Wales should bin them…

Vivian O’Blivion
Vivian O’Blivion
1 year ago

Tommy Sheppard made his name setting up and operating comedy clubs (and good luck to him there), it seems general buffoonery has rubbed off on him. This situation is not “A stain on OUR democracy”, the very existence of the jumped up Parish Councils in Edinburgh and Cardiff are a stain on our democracies. Sheppard has one job to do and that’s to extract us from our colonial status, not to improve THEIR democracy.

1 year ago

Um, they already are disqualified unless they take a leave of absence from the House of Lords.

1 year ago
Reply to  Random

Sshhh don’t spoil their fun with facts.

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