Politics: Lord Hattersley, the unlikely peer, takes his seat

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The Independent Online
Roy Hattersley, Labour's former deputy leader, slipped easily into the nobility yesterday. Lord Hattersley, as he must now be addressed, swathed in scarlet and ermine, looked born to the aristocracy as he was propelled through the 370-year-old ceremony of introduction in the House of Lords.

For a man to whom mumbo-jumbo is anathema, Roy Sydney George Hattersley, bore the bizarre proceedings with commendable good humour.

Not once did his face crease up in irritation as, led by the Garter King at Arms, Peter Llewellyn Gwynne-Jones, and sandwiched between his two sponsoring peers, Lord Hattersley wove his way in and out of the red leather benches, doffing his hat and bowing as the occasion demanded.

Now peers will await his maiden speech. It promises to be a daunting occasion for elderly peers if it is to match his Commons debut in 1964, described as "electrifying". A repeat performance might just be too much of a gust of fresh air for their lordships to endure.

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