8 Aug 2014

Five tips on how to get into the Lords

If you are not on todays list of 22 new peers, you are not getting in – the House of Lords is an exclusive club. Based on those who did get in, here are a few tips that might help you jump the queue.

#1: Show up when it’s quiet (and be good at musical chairs)

There’s only enough space for around 240 people in the House of Lords at any one time.

So with 850 peers, it can become a busy place … with 3.5 people having to cram into every seat.

Luckily, only about half of the peers attend the Lords each day, but proficiency at musical chairs will assist the dash to the benches.

Lord Brabazon of Tara advised in 2010: “Further space is available … on the Steps of the Throne.”

#2: Be a party animal

Like getting into any club, it’s about who you know.

An unusually high number of those elevated to the upper house this year have worked in senior positions in the three political parties.

Chris Lennie, was a deputy Secretary General of the Labour party. Andrew Cooper was a Downing Street pollster for the Conservative party.

Michael Farmer is a Conservative party Treasurer, while Chris Fox was the chief executive of the Liberal Democrats.

Natalie Evans was deputy director at the Conservative Research Department. And Carlyn Chisholm was co-chairman of the Conservative Candidates Committee.

#3: Don’t be a serving politician

Only 9 of the 22 people today bestowed with peerages speak of election to political office in their biographies.

If you want to have a money-making career after politics, as many MPs do, you probably don’t want be a Lord due to those pesky rules about declarations of interest.

#4: Be generous with your money

The Electoral Reform society says that six party donors have been ennobled.

It says: “These appointments further cement the impression that to get into the House of Lords, all you have to do is write a fat cheque to a political party or be a party hack.”

Two Conservative party donors are on the list, having given £6.9m to the party between them.

Michael Farmer has given £6.5 million to the Conservative party since 2002, while Ranbir Singh Suri has given more than £300,000.

The other four donors each gave small amounts under £50,000.

#5: …But don’t bring your own cash

You’ll get paid at least £150 each day as an allowance for coming through the doors, so don’t look out of place that this exclusive London hotspot by paying your own way.