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Youngest life peer ‘proud’ to wear Doc Martens in Lords she opposes

26 Apr 2024 4 minute read
Carmen Smith – Plaid Cymru’s Baroness Smith of Llanfaes. Credit: Jude Edginton / The Times

The youngest life peer has said she will be “proud” to wear her Doc Martens in the House of Lords as she promised to “be a voice” of her generation.

Making her maiden speech at Westminster, Plaid Cymru’s Baroness Smith of Llanfaes, 28, also restated her opposition to the unelected chamber she had just joined, believing it had no place “in a modern democratic society”.

Lady Smith, who has dyed red hair, acknowledged she was “not the norm” in the Lords, where the average age is 71, and said she was “conscious of the particular responsibility” that fell to her as the youngest member.

“Not the norm”

She paid tribute to the decades of public service given by Lord Wigley, Plaid’s 81-year-old honorary president, who is to retire from the House at the next general election.

Lady Smith said: “I can only hope to follow in his footsteps and in time perhaps to earn the same level of esteem in which he is held.

“It will not have escaped your attention though that I do look rather differently to Lord Wigley.

“Since my nomination was announced much comment has been made about my age, the colour of my hair and my choice of footwear.

“I assure you that I will be proud to wear my Doc Martens in this place.

She added: “I am young, I am a woman and I am from Wales.

“That is not the norm of this place.

“And I am now one of only 36 members of the House who is below the age of 50. One of only six below the age of 40 and the only one below the age of 30.

“I am conscious of the particular responsibility which now falls to me not only as the current youngest member of the House, but also the youngest life peer to ever have been created.

“My responsibility, as I see it, is to not just be my own voice or that of my party or my country, but to be a voice of my generation.”

Highlighting her own experience of growing up on a council estate in Llanfaes, a small village in Ynys Mon, as a young carer to her late father, Lady Smith said: “Battling on a daily basis the kind of prejudices and barriers that too many of our fellow citizens still face.

“Trying to find hope and build a future for myself in a world where the odds seemed to be stacked against people like me.

“Burning with anger at the deprivation to which my community had been subjected.

“And these experiences are not unique to me, my generation has a particular experience, a particular perspective, which deserves and needs to be reflected in this place.”

Controversy

She said it was “imperative” the voices of young people were included in the deliberations of the Lords.

She went on: “Since the announcement of my nomination to this place I have been quite open in my view that although I believe Welsh voices are necessary here now while this place has a say in the laws that govern Wales, I do not believe that an unelected, upper chamber has a place in a modern democratic society.

“While I may be in a minority in the House in holding that view I would not be doing my job if I did not continue to express it.

“Nevertheless it is my intention to be constructive in my contributions here and I look forward to offering my perspective and sharing my voice in your deliberations.”

Lady Smith’s appointment to the upper chamber was not without controversy as she was not the first choice of the party membership.

Although she came second in the vote to a man, the rules meant she received the nomination because she was female.

Like other peers, Lady Smith will be able to claim the daily attendance allowance of £342 and up to £100 for overnight stays plus travel expenses.


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Goodie
Goodie
29 days ago

That is the most middle class thing I think I’ve ever heard

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
29 days ago

Avoid the word proud…

I’m guessing that you are not a vegan nor totally grown-up and you are my voice in the house of free fun…dim diolch

Last edited 29 days ago by Mab Meirion
Gaynor
Gaynor
29 days ago

Grief…get a grip NC. I am proud to. wear my yellow ones to work does not make me an anarchist. Has she achieved anything yet in tge HOL? When she does write a story about it

A.Redman
A.Redman
29 days ago

5-day week @£342/daily plus £500 /week plus travel on her bike? If she is successful in closing down the place she believes is non-democratic would she be entitled to any benefits having given up the employment that she is being paid for? Talk about “biting the hand that feeds you”! Hypocrisy of the highest order🤔

George
George
29 days ago

The whole house of lords should be shut down. Totally ridiculous.

Caradoc
Caradoc
29 days ago

shallow and immature English middle class feminism at its very best. somebody here is trying hard to turn a nobody into a somebody. keep trying.

CapM
CapM
29 days ago

” ‘proud’ to wear Doc Martens”
But she’s wearing Sunak Sambas

hdavies15
hdavies15
29 days ago
Reply to  CapM

Bit of a brands fetish going on there. Give her a year in that House and she’ll be trotting around in D&G or whatever brands ring her bells at that time.

hdavies15
hdavies15
29 days ago

Shallow poseur and will probably remain just that when she’s 50…even 80.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
29 days ago

How great it would have been to see Mr Llwyd enter the House of Lords…

Caradoc
Caradoc
29 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Cywir iawn, Fab Meirion, cywir iawn. If we have to be represented in the den of iniquity, let us have somebody of calibre and achievement, who has experience, who can influence, who commands respect and who can make a difference. For the Plaid Cymru of today, a man with fifty years of experience as a practising solicitor and barrister, who stood and won five general elections and was in the House of Commons for over twenty years, who speaks Welsh fluently … all of these count for nothing in the shallow waters of wokeness. As ye sow so shall ye… Read more »

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
29 days ago

I suppose the red hair and Doc Martens does give some credence to Rhuns believe that we do things differently in Wales. However this is where the difference ends. Her arrival into the House of Lords was your bog standard Westminster/UK politics stitch up like we have just seen with Vaughn Gething and the subbing in of Rishi after the rules were changed disregarding the membership. I am amazed Rhun can put on his Facebook page recently that ‘Wales has kept clear of Westminster sleaze’.

Crom
Crom
29 days ago

Why would anyone be proud to wear any brand of shoe anywhere, House of Lords or not. If she hadn’t mentioned it, I doubt anyone would have noticed.
It’s pathetic and childish.

Glen
Glen
28 days ago

WOW!! What a rebel.
Another dinner party revolutionary.

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