Juggling Lords

In discussing the future of the House of Lords, Alan Massie (Perspective, 4 August) forgets to mention that the Tories have misused it to prop up their tottering power in Scotland.

When the late Hamish Gray MP lost his seat, way back in 1983, he was immediately transformed into “Baron Gray of Contin” and reappointed as a Minister of State. So much for the voters.

And now, lacking former MPs, the Prime Minister has raised Andrew Dunlop to the ranks of the nobility, so that he can keep company with the solitary David Mundell MP in the London-based Scottish Office.

For the Conservative Party, a peerage may serve as a consolation prize for political failure. Two former secretaries of state for Scotland – Ian Lang and Michael Forsyth – were voted out by the electorate and then appointed back in by their party leader.

This dubious procedure allowed the latter to be presented as a “Tory grandee” (you couldn’t make it up!) in the recent referendum.


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And what of the Labour Party? Sadly it succumbed to the lure of a coronet long ago, when Clement Attlee accepted a hereditary title. Now Scottish Labour has ended up with lots of “life peers” and only one MP.

Small surprise, then, that the SNP is on a roll.

In the recent election I could only vote for the doomed Liberal Democrats, who – on the constitutional question – just happen to be right.

John Coutts


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