In the aftermath of the 2010 General Election, Prime Minister David Cameron asserted as a part of the coalition agreement that he would try and make the appointment of peers to the House of Lords more reflective of the national vote share at the election.
But since UKIP made significant gains, Cameron seems to have reneged on his pledge – delivering no peers to UKIP in the latest round of appointments made today.
A leaked exchange between the Cabinet Office Secretary Francis Maude and UKIP peer and former leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch sheds more light on the U-turn.
Maude said of the change in policy, “The Prime Minister’s position on this has not changed. UKIP is not without representation in the House of Lords, although it does not have any representation in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister is mindful of the representation of the minority parties and keeps the position under review.
But even the Green Party has had a peer appointed in this Parliament, under Cameron’s purview. Something that UKIP, with three times the national vote that the Green Party obtained in 2010, did not get.
Lord Pearson reminds Maude that Cameron said he had a new policy of “appointing Peers more in accordance with the votes cast at the previous general election”. Then in a letter dated 11th August 2010, Cameron said: “At present I am afraid I am not intending to increase the number of UKIP Peers…”
Speaking on the number of “celebrity” appointments to the Lords, a senior UKIP source joked to me: “We’re trying to book Nigel on The Apprentice. It seems that starring on that show gives you a better chance of getting a peerage than winning a national election”.
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