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The Earl of Errol: It occurred to me briefly when the noble Baroness, Lady Castle, spoke that there is a problem in relation to gender. If we were to adopt Amendment No. 110D, the male version would be "Senator" but the female version would be "Senatrix", which may have tricky connotations.
Lord Newby: I begin by agreeing with the sentiments expressed by the noble Baroness, Lady Castle. When we reach the stage of a reformed House of Lords, whatever we decide to call ourselves will shed both the sense of privilege and the sexist nature of our current title. As to what our title should be at that stage, I can envisage many debates in this Chamber and much will depend on the functions and size of the new House.
It would seem sensible in some circumstances to call ourselves a "Senate", but if we had a House as large as the interim House, with 625 or more Members, that is a lot of people to call "Senators" and I am not sure that it would work. Equally, while having the initials "ML" after our names may be sensible, I hope that we do not go as far as the noble Lord, Lord Eden, suggested and have "MHL" after our names. That sounds too much like a second class or a car number plate. I hope that we can restrict it.
In the interim phase we are not going to change the functions of this Chamber, and it is perhaps premature to be changing the title. Whatever signals we send out will almost certainly be misleading. In relation to the proposals of the noble Lord, Lord Elton, both temporary and interim ought to concern him in that nothing endures like the temporary and we know that that is not what he has in mind. Equally, after the passage of the Weatherill amendment, there will be a category of people in your Lordships' House who will not be appointed; they will be both hereditary and elected. Therefore, that argument fails also.
Lord Elton: That is precisely what I was not saying. I cannot answer for my noble friend Lord Gray; I was suggesting what we should be called when there are still 90 of us here. What happens after that can be decided in that Chamber which will be hugely dominated by those who will be named afterwards.
Lord Mackie of Benshie: I was not referring to the noble Lord, Lord Elton; I was referring to others. The fact is that the House is largely composed of, and the work is largely done by, Peers appointed by Her Majesty so there is no reason why the name should not continue.
We ought to admit that people like being Lords. I was appointed by Jeremy Thorpe and Mr. Wilson 25 years ago and think I am a real Lord. It is extraordinary. The House of Lords has changed enormously from the days when the Lords in this Chamber exerted enormous power through their personal wealth and their ownership of land to now, when we have the appointment of admirable people from science and the professions.
The "House of Lords" is a good name and one that people like abroad. I went to China many years ago with a delegation from Parliament, including a number of MPs and two or three Lords. In China we were given "priesthoods", but they preferred "Lords". The House of Lords is known and appreciated. It does no harm and people like it. Therefore, we might as well continue with the name.
Earl Ferrers: If I might say so, that is about the most reactionary speech that we have heard for a long time. The noble Lord is saying, "I love being a Lord. It is so nice and we get wonderful treatment". But it reflects exactly what noble Lords on the Benches opposite feel too; that is the reason they came here. They are happy to call themselves Lords, other than the noble Baroness, Lady Jay.
I referred to this the other day and cannot help but refer to it again. The noble Baroness wrote an article in the Daily Telegraph a little while ago saying that everyone should give up their titles and be called Mr. and Mrs.; but they could have the initials "ML" after their name. I suggested "LP" which would at least keep the name of Lord, but the noble Baroness wanted "Member of the Lords". The noble Baroness did not reply to that debate--I do not blame her--but her deputy, the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, did. He disagreed totally with his noble friend and I felt that he was lucky still to be sitting on the Front Bench today.
Oddly enough, the noble Baroness, Lady Castle, strikes a chord here. She said that she does not like being called a "Lord", although that did not stop her from coming here and enjoying the House of Lords. I can understand that. No doubt the noble Baroness will be happy to endorse the later amendment which suggests that the House should be called the "Appointed Chamber". That is what it will be. It will be appointed either by the life Peers who are here or the hereditary Peers who are left. The Bill says that we should appoint 90 people. How we should appoint them is another matter; but it will be an appointed Chamber and there is no reason why we should not call it such.
The noble Baroness, Lady Castle, need not worry too much about being referred to as a "Member of the House of Lords"; after all, for a long time we have used the expression, "Madam Chairman". That may be a complete juxtaposition of the genders, but it works quite well. However, some people get touchy and would call themselves, "Chair", which is absurd and does not refer with courtesy to either gender.
Of the various amendments put forward, I support my noble friend Lord Elton in Amendment No. 133, which refers to it being an "Appointed House". That is all very fine. However, my noble friend Lord Eden said that the public would not understand that there had been any change. I should not think that they would understand; indeed, they do not understand what is going on. Of course, it is a mini-revolution--a constitutional revolution.
This place will not be the same as it was, as I ventured to suggest the other day. Therefore, I am probably repeating myself, but no doubt noble Lords will not remember so it does not really matter. What I actually said was that before, when people were made Peers, they automatically became Members of the House of Lords. But nowadays you are asked if you would like to go to the second Chamber and, providing that you agree to carry out certain functions, you are allowed to call yourself a Lord. So it is a different system. It is not a bad idea, as we are to have a change, for us also to have a change in name.
I have no doubt that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, will respond to the amendment. It will be interesting to see whose side he falls on; for example, whether he will fall on the side of the noble Baroness, Lady Jay, or on that of the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn. I should have thought that it is time for a change. Perhaps the noble and learned Lord would like to consider it.
Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: Perhaps I may say a few words on this issue, if that is all right by your Lordships, and any others who are listening who would like to be called something other than "your Lordships". We have had an interesting debate. I am a little torn between my noble friend Lord Gray, who is partly a Campbell--and, if you are a Scot, you make it one of your principles not to get on the wrong side of the Campbells if you can possibly help it--and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale. I have to say that I think I will come down on the side of the latter. As I have explained before, when I served on the Government Front Benches and the noble and learned Lord got to his feet my little mind went suddenly into red alert. Indeed, I knew that whatever he said would be very serious and, if it was criticism, I knew that I had to be extremely careful. I probably went off and told my officials to be absolutely sure that we were right and the noble and learned Lord was wrong. However, today, I am going to say that I concur completely with the noble and learned Lord.
People in this country do not have any great trouble with Lords who are not Members of your Lordships' House. After all, judges are Lords and most of them are not in your Lordships' House. In Scotland we have some very eminent judges who have to take territorial names because their surnames are already being used by other members of the Scottish Bench. They are not considered to be Members of your Lordships' House despite the fact that a few, like my noble and learned friend Lord Cameron of Lochbroom, and indeed another whose name will come to me in a second, hold other offices. My noble and learned friend Lord Rodger, for example, is a Member of your Lordships' House as well as being the senior judge in Scotland.
Then we have the other Lords--that is to say, those with courtesy titles. My noble friend Lord Ancram, masquerades as Mr. Michael Ancram, the Member of Parliament for Devizes. There is also my noble friend Lord Selkirk of Douglas who, in the other place, masqueraded for years as Lord James Douglas-Hamilton because he was the second son of a duke. Now he is in the Scottish Parliament as Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, which does not seem to confuse anyone in Scotland--
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