Support our Nation today - please donate here

Retiring hereditary peer ‘inspired’ by Plaid Cymru peer who wants to abolish Lords

17 May 2024 3 minute read
Lord Sandwich (L) and Baroness Smith Photos Roger Harris, CC BY 3.0.

A retiring hereditary peer paid has tribute to a 28-year-old Plaid Cymru peer who wants to abolish the Lords, in his final speech in the unelected chamber.

The Earl of Sandwich, who sits on the crossbench, is retiring at the age of 81 due to ill health.

He said in his valedictory speech that he was “inspired” by Baroness Smith, who became the youngest member of the House of Lords when she was formally introduced in March.

John Montagu became the 11th Earl of Sandwich in 1995, and was one of the 90 hereditary peers kept on after Lords reform in 1999.

Fast food

He told the upper chamber on Friday: “My title comes from a family naval tradition starting with Charles II’s senior admiral, Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich.

“I’ve also declared another important historic interest in the register: this is the family that brought you fast food, first tasted by John Montagu, the 4th Earl.”

Lord Sandwich told the House: “I much regret having to announce my retirement on Monday, owing to ill health – as you can see, I get short of breath.

“I am grateful to my noble friends on the crossbenches, who have literally given me a second career of nearly 30 years.

“I know I was chosen because I had worked with several aid NGOs, including Christian Aid and Save the Children, notably on Africa, also India, where my wife Caroline and I lived for nearly a year.”


He added: “I think 81 is the right age to move aside and in saying this I urge the House to reappoint the Lord Speaker’s committee on Lords reform.

“They should look now at incremental reforms proposed, before someone else takes over as PM and tells us what to do.

“Here I am inspired by Carmen, our youngest member from Plaid Cymru, who is here because she says she will do her duty right up to abolition.”

He thanked crossbench colleagues, the crossbench convenor, the frontbenches, the clerks and all the doorkeepers and staff.

Lord Sandwich was praised for his “intellect, wisdom and huge generosity” and branded a “huge force for good” in Parliament.

He was also described as “the most considerate and sincere advocate for international development”, with “complete dedication for putting forward the case for a more just and fairer world”.

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
28 days ago

Inspired by Carmen? He must be one Sandwich short of a picnic.

28 days ago

Glad the Baroness is making an impact for Wales by inspiring an hereditary Earl!! Well worth her being there!

28 days ago

Pass the sick 🤢 bag Alice .

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
28 days ago

When a Ship of the Line gives way to a red sailed privateer, with the courtesy of a humble sailor…

N.C provides a portal into history for anyone to access…

28 days ago

Who wrote this little article, Nation Cymru? Carmen, Syd…?

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.