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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Liberal Democrat wins Parliamentary by-election

Liberal Democrat victories in Parliamentary by-elections have been rare since 2010 but this week one such contest saw a former Lib Dem MP storm to victory with 100% of the vote.

What was unusual about this particular by-election was that all the other candidates were Liberal Democrats as well, the total electorate amounted to three individuals and they too are members of the party.

As the Independent reports, this rather arcane process saw John Thurso fill the vacancy caused by the death of hereditary peer Eric Lubbock, Lord Avebury, which only another Liberal Democrat can fill:

Under existing Lords procedures, the 92 hereditary peers can only be elected to the upper chamber by members of their own party.

Viscount Thurso was a member of the House of Lords between 1995 and 1999 before being expelled when New Labour reforms axed most 'hereditary' peers in favour of 'life' peers.

He was then elected MP for Caithness and Sutherland in 2001 and served up until 2015.

The existence of a remaining rump of 92 hereditary peers was seen as a “temporary” compromise by the government at the time to get the reforms through Parliament.

Viscount Thurso was unanimously elected by the Earl of Oxford, the Earl of Glasgow and Lord Addington.

Surely it is time for this nonsensical process to be abolished and for the Lords to be turned into a totally elected, modern second chamber.
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