In a reversal of the Big Brother principle – where the most unpopular candidate is expelled from the house – Lord Ullswater found himself yesterday the first deposed peer to be returned to the benches of the upper chamber.
The former Conservative chief whip, who once served as private secretary to Princess Margaret, defeated 80 other hereditary peers to win the election to replace the late Viscount Oxfuird.
More than 400 peers took part in the unique ballot to fill the vacancy created by the death of Lord Oxfuird in January.
He was one of the 15 office holders in the Lords who remained when all but 92 hereditary peers lost their right to sit in the upper chamber in 1999.
The result was announced in the Lords yesterday after two days of voting. The candidates included the second Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, son of Field Marshal Montgomery, and Viscount Massereene and Ferrard, the president of the Monday Club, which was thrown out of the Conservative Party in 2001. The list was dominated by Conservatives and crossbenchers, although two Labour and two Liberal Democrats stood.
Lord Ullswater, 61, said: "It is a great honour to have been chosen by so many of my peers to serve again as a member of the House of Lords."