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Noble Lords: No.

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, that was a good way of shutting up my noble friend. I did not frankly think that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, would accept the amendment. It is funny how the Government want to change everything except the style and the title. The fact is that it is a selected Chamber. There may be 100 Peers, and we keep on being told that that still may not

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come to pass. There may still be 100 hereditary Peers but they will all be selected. It will not be the same as the House of Lords as it used to be. However, I do not see a great head of steam over this issue. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Earl Ferrers moved Amendment No. 51:

After Clause 3, insert the following new clause--


(" . From the day on which this Act comes into force the members of the Selected Chamber of Parliament shall be styled as "Members of the Lords", with the initials "ML" appended to their name but without reference to their rank in the peerage.").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, this is a different kettle of fish altogether. We have already discussed this matter. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, said that I referred at Committee stage to "Lords of Parliament". That is perfectly true. I have altered the amendment this time to describe them as "members of the Lords". That should please the noble and learned Lord. Perhaps he is not replying to the amendment.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I am.

Earl Ferrers: The noble and learned Lord is to reply. Ah, a change of bowling. I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Williams, was to reply because he did so last time.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, the same bowler but a different batsman.

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, I have no doubt that the ball will get caught anyhow.

I put down this amendment to try to help the noble Baroness the Lord Privy Seal because--I am mindful to rehearse the fact again just to remind your Lordships--back in August she wrote an article in the Daily Telegraph. It stated:

    "Baroness Jay, the new Leader of the Lords, wants life peers to be stripped of their aristocratic titles and called MLs--Members of the Lords. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, she said she was keen to remove the elitism of the names used in the Upper Chamber. 'I am not sure that I would not like to move to a situation where you had ML after your name, Member of the Lords, rather than being called Baroness Jay of Paddington', she said. She went on to say, 'I would not mind not having the title although some of my some of my colleagues might think it terribly sad to get rid of them'." She then said that it was important to create a way of differentiating between Peers who are born with their titles and those who have won a seat in the Lords on their merit, which of course would include the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Coity.

The amendment seeks to put into the Bill exactly what the noble Baroness the Leader of the House wants. I therefore thought that it would be good to have it down and to help her.

During the course of the debates on the Bill we have listened to the hereditary Peers being vilified and told that they have no place in the constitution and that they are undemocratic. All that was before Weatherill came in and then the Government rather changed their tack

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because they said that some hereditary Peers are desirable. The fact is that those in another place have always disliked the House of Lords because they feel that when they pass a Bill the House of Lords should accept it, and of course they become upset when we do not accept it. Therefore, the Members of the Commons have always disliked Members of the Lords, and none more so than Labour Members of the House of Commons.

The curious thing--I have had occasion to say it before--is that they all queue up to come here. They do come here and the curious thing daily is that, having come here, they have, as I have suggested once, acted rather like cuckoos and tried to chuck out of the nest the very eggs that have given the place its character, its style and possibly its attractiveness. The hereditary Peers are, after all, the people who have over the years given the place the character, the courtesies, the practices, the ambience and the civilised behaviour. We are now going to get rid of all of them and all the life Peers will say, "We do not want hereditary Peers here at all but we are quite happy to be called Lords and take all the trappings of being a Lord". I began to think that that was a little strange. If you are against everything, why is it that you then come up and take on the mantle of what you have cast off?

Therefore, it seems to me that the noble Baroness, Lady Jay, was actually entirely right over this: that you ought in fact to put "ML" after your name and not call yourself "Lord". My noble friend Lord Onslow said that she is glorious as the noble Baroness, Lady Jay, and of course she is. She might be Margaret Jay, ML, and she might be Mrs Michael Adler, ML. That is not quite such a glorious title.

Noble Lords: Oh!

Earl Ferrers: Of course it is a glorious title, but in a slightly different way. After all, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, would be perfectly happy to be called Falconer ML. He does not want to be called "Lord" or anything like that. But what will happen when a Prime Minister asks someone to serve in the Upper House? He will say, "Will you go and serve in that Upper House? You have to be there every day; you have to"--as your Lordships may know, particularly if you are a member of the other party--"sign in and sign out when you have arrived there so that they know what is happening; you have to be there most days to vote; you will not receive any payment but you get a bit of expenses; but you can call yourself a Lord". Then, of course, they will all say, "Yes, we would love to go to the House of Lords". But if you say, "Will you go to the second Chamber? You will not be paid; you have to be there the whole time; you have to vote; and you cannot call yourself a Lord either", no one will want to go. Of course they will not. So why do they all come--because they want to call themselves Lords; and, if I may suggest it, because their wives like to call themselves Ladies.

In this great egalitarian day and age, I think it is quite right that people who are life Peers who will be Members of this great, new body that will be far more

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democratic than ever was the one that preceded it, of which we happen to be the lucky Members, should be called "members of the Lords". For once, the noble Baroness the Leader of the House is right. I commend the amendment to your Lordships.

6.30 p.m.

Lord Marlesford: My Lords, my noble friend goes through the most delightful moods--between self-immolation and teasing; and I think we enjoy both very much. In the days of unegalitarianism one used to hear the phrase, "It takes three generations to make a gentleman and clogs to clogs in three generations". I do not know how many generations the noble Earl thinks it takes to make a Lord. Presumably, if there were logic in his amendment--I do not suppose for a moment that he assumes there is because it is based on the rather amusing words used by the noble Baroness the Leader of the House in the Spectator or Tribune article, whichever it was--he would feel that hereditary Peers of the first creation should never have been called "Lord" and, indeed, that life Peers, since 1958, should never have been called "Lord". I should be interested to know at what stage he thinks the blood changes sufficiently for the epithet to be added.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, perhaps I may--

Lord Strathclyde: My Lords, the noble and learned Lord is slightly too hasty. I wonder whether the House would agree that few more beguiling amendments have come before the House than this one. Perhaps the most entertaining part of our depressing proceedings in Committee was when the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, suddenly expressed a deep sense of the value of continuity and tradition with regard to the past and the future of this House. That was, as noble Lords may remember, when it was suggested that the titles of the peerage should be separated from the right to sit and vote in the House.

If I may paraphrase the noble Lord and indeed other noble Lords opposite, "No, we see no need to change. We like being called 'my Lord'. We just want the older Lords to be tipped out of here". Yet there was one exception to that somewhat contradictory position, and that was the principled position taken by the noble Baroness the Leader of the House. In her interview, as my noble friend Lord Ferrers indicated, she expressed her distaste for some of what she felt was the flummery surrounding the House. In a modern era a modern title should suffice and the idea was floated that Members of your Lordships' House should be known simply as Members of the Lords. That inspired idea was floated in the air by the noble Baroness and it has today been plucked down from the air by my noble friend Lord Ferrers. It is inevitable that at some stage the title "Lord" must be separated from membership of this House. Equally, as I have said, I see some merit in keeping the name of the House of Lords itself. The simple description "ML", parallel to that of "MP" for another place, as proposed by the noble Baroness and my noble

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friend is logical. I congratulate my noble friend on his amendment and I would be very surprised if the noble and learned Lord the Minister did not accept it.

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