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Hereditary Peers By-election

Volume 792: debated on Wednesday 4 July 2018


The Clerk of the Parliaments announced the result of the by-election to elect a Cross-Bench hereditary Peer, in the place of Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, in accordance with Standing Order 10.

Twenty-six Lords completed valid ballot papers. A notice detailing the results is in the Printed Paper Office and online. The successful candidate was the Earl of Devon.

My Lords, the Clerk of the Parliaments has just made an important announcement of the result of a parliamentary by-election, which is always of significance in whichever House it takes place. He has acted as a returning officer, effectively. I make no criticism of him, because he is acting in accordance with precedence, but there are two by-elections pending and the returning officer’s responsibility is wider than simply announcing the result. Can I ask that, in future, when he announces the result of the next two by-elections, he also tells us the total number of votes cast, the votes cast for each candidate, the number of ballots, the number of spoiled papers, should there be any, and finally the percentage turnout? Can the usual channels ensure that that is done on all future occasions?

My Lords, my distinguished predecessor of the office I currently hold will know that there is no Question before the House. He has presented a large shopping list. He has a Bill before the House and he should know that I intend to make provision for further discussion on his Bill sometime in the autumn. I hope that satisfies noble Lords on his particular interest in this matter. I will read Hansard for the specific demands that he makes.

My Lords, I do not wish to delay the House and I am grateful for the Chief Whip’s intervention, but he would have heard considerable disquiet from the House about this method of electing new Members of this House. With such a small electorate, it brings this House into disrepute. There is overwhelming support in your Lordships’ House for my noble friend Lord Grocott’s Bill. As well as providing additional time, I ask the Government to support the Bill and ensure its safe passage.