10 Downing Street has issued a new list of working peers, available here. The list is wholly of party-political peers (with the exception of General Sir Richard Dannatt, who will sit on the cross benches). Five names have a devolution interest. Among the Liberal Democrat nominees are Nichol Stephen, an MSP and formerly Lib Dem leader and Deputy First Minister in Scotland, and Jenny Randerson, an AM and former acting party group leader and Deputy First Minister in Wales. The Labour nominees include Eluned Morgan, formerly an MEP and often spoken of as having a future in Welsh politics. The Conservative nominees include Sir Reg Empey, MLA and former leader of the Ulster Unionists (as well as Alistair Cooke OBE, who spent some time at Queen’s Belfast before entering the Conservative Research Department). And there’s the first peer to be nominated by Plaid Cymru, in the person of Dafydd Wigley, former MP, AM and leader of the party.
It will be interesting to see if the Lib Dem peers step down from the other legislature of which they’re members, as is now party policy. Mike German did so earlier this year when he accepted a peerage.
In population terms, this is a bit less than proportionate treatment of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (which account for about 15 per cent of the UK population but have only 9 per cent of the new nominees). More telling is that only one of these peers will sit on the Conservative benches. Indeed, with the exception of Sir Reg, the Conservative names have a particularly English (and beyond that, southern English) ring to them.
UPDATE: It appears that neither Jenny Randerson nor Nichol Stephen are to stand down from the National Assembly for Wales or Scottish Parliament before next May’s elections, and so will hold dual mandates for the next four months or so.