Paul Goodman published the list of new Tory and other peers on Friday.
I thought it was a very good list. The women on it were particularly impressive…
- Elizabeth Berridge who has directed the Conservative Christian Fellowship and will become a vital spokesperson for faith communities in the years ahead (she had been one of my tips for the Commons);
- Anne Jenkin, who has done more to promote women candidates in the Conservative Party than any single other person (except, perhaps, David Cameron himself);
- Tina Stowell, effectively if not formally Chief of Staff to William Hague until 2001, and a formidable advocate of common sense conservatism;
- Patience Wheatcroft, brilliant journalist and former advisor to Boris Johnson on cost-cutting.
One woman missing from the list was Ann Widdecombe. Is she missing because she hasn't been a yes woman to David Cameron? 72% of Tory members hoped the former Shadow Home Secretary would be put in the Lords. The list is certainly light on people of strong conservative ideology. I would have liked to have seen more enoblements from think tanks.
The list also saw three injustices corrected…
- Notably the enoblement of Howard Flight who lost his seat when Michael Howard lost his temper, before the 2005 election, and (unconstitutionally) fired him as MP for the seat now represented by Nick Herbert;
- Bob Edmiston, one of the country's most generous Christian philanthropists, finally gets his proper recognition; and
- George Magan, businessman, philanthropist and the only recent Tory Treasurer not to be put in the Lords.
Labour complain that the Tories are stuffing the Lords but the graphic on the right shows that Labour still have more peers (and their average age is younger). To hide the extent to which Labour attempted to pack the House of Lords when they were in office, there are also suspicions that left-leaners were appointed as Crossbenchers. Lord Birt of Blair's Blue Sky Thinking Unit being just one example of this phenomenon.