Parliament: House of Lords - Snowdon accepts Blair's offer to be made a life peer

THE EARL OF Snowdon headed a list of 10 hereditary peers who were awarded life peerages by Tony Blair last night. They will keep their seats in the House of Lords after it is reformed.

Six former leaders of the Lords are being made barons in recognition of their long service, said Downing Street. They included the Earl Jellicoe, who volunteered his resignation in 1973 from the Heath government for entertaining prostitutes at the height of a call-girl scandal involving another minister, Lord Lambton.

Five royal members of the House - the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of York, the Duke of Kent, the Duke of Gloucester and the Earl of Wessex - turned down Mr Blair's offer of life peerages.

Handing out the life peerages to the 10 hereditaries including six Tories may give the lie to the Conservative claim that the Government is stuffing the Lords with "Tony's Cronies", but it angered Labour MPs who support a fully elected upper chamber and are building up opposition to the way that Lords reform is being handled by the Government.

The Earl of Snowdon, the former husband of Princess Margaret, is a photographer who is an occasional attender of the Lords. The other newly created life peers include Lord Carrington, who resigned as Foreign Secretary from the Thatcher cabinet over the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands and Lord Cranborne, who negotiated the deal to retain 92 hereditaries until stage two of House of Lords reform behind William Hague's back.

The Prime Minister's office defended the move, insisting that it had made clear in a White Paper on the reform of the Lords that life peerages would go to hereditary peers of first creation. In addition to the Earl of Snowdon, they are: the Tory peer Lord Aldington, the Labour lord the Earl of Longford; and the crossbencher Lord Erroll of Hale.

Hereditary peers who were not thrown a lifeline will today begin subtly canvassing for election for some of the 90 seats set aside for hereditaries. The results of the election will be announced on Friday. Three former Leaders of the Lords, Lord Belstead, who held the position between 1987 and 1990; Lord Windlesham, who led the House between 1973 and 1974 and Lord Shepherd, the Labour leader between 1974 and 1976, also dropped out of the contest to take life peerages.

"At this stage, there is quite a scramble going on because there are at least 60 hereditaries who are hard-working but unfortunately not enough spaces for all of them," one Tory hereditary peer said.

"There is quite a depressing atmosphere at the moment because so many of them will have to go, so if Lord Cranborne wants to accept a life peerage that will be welcomed, because it means that another place becomes vacant."

Fifteen office holders in the Lords have already been elected to the seats for the hereditaries, leaving 75 up for election. Two more are non- elected and reserved for the Lords Great Chamberlain and Earl Marshal. There are 42 seats for the Tories and the voting by first preference means Conservative peers will be expected to vote 42 times on each ballot paper.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Packaging Operatives

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for two indivi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Recruitment Genius: Estimator

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a major supplier of buil...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£28000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas