Conrad Russell

November 12, 1999

'He has recently said of power: "Like sex it is necessary and may be delightful. Like sex it is unlawful when not based on consent"'

It is ironic that Conrad Russell should receive the largest number of votes from fellow peers to remain as a hereditary peer in the House of Lords when he has long said it should be abolished.

But his problem has always been less with the Lords than with the manner in which they are appointed. He has recently said of power: "Like sex it is necessary and may be delightful. Like sex it is unlawful when not based on consent."

Born in 1937, the son of philosopher

Bertrand Russell and great-grandson of the Whig prime minister John Russell, he became the fifth Earl Russell in 1987, aged 50, on the death of his half-brother.

His father was 65 when he was born. After his parents split up he did not speak to his father for ten years, although they were later reconciled. Nor has he spoken to his mother for more than 30 years in spite of her active involvement in the Liberal Democrats.

Educated first at a progressive school in Dartington and then at Eton College, he went on to Merton College, Oxford, where he studied history. Torn between history, politics and law, he chose history, becoming a lecturer and then reader at Bedford College, London, before taking up a chair at Yale University. Around the same time, he changed his political allegiance from the Labour Party to the Liberal Democrats.

From Yale, he went to University College London as Astor professor of British history and Oxford as Ford lecturer before joining King's College, London in 1990.

In the Lords he has served as spokesman on social security, although he was threatened with dismissal from the Liberal Democrat front bench when he voted against a three-line whip supporting closed lists in the European Elections Bill.

Married to a former student for the past 37 years, he has two sons and lists one of his hobbies in Who's Who as uxoriousness.

Send all information to Lynne Williams

People is edited by Harriet Swain and researched by Lynne Williams.

Send all information to Lynne Williams


Admiral House

66-68 East Smithfield

London E1W 1BX

Tel 020 7782 3375



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