Why I ... resigned as Conservative education spokesman in the Lords

December 11, 1998

In Great Britain we have very powerful political parties and a very powerful executive. I am concerned that any second chamber should be able to limit the executive.

I was amazed that the government offered the agreement to allow 91 hereditary peers to keep their seats - it is so adamant against hereditary peers. This agreement will put in place the election of an independent element in the House of Lords. This will at first be in the hands of the hereditary peers, but the electorate can be widened at a later date. The important thing is that there will be an independent element in the Lords.

I think William Hague handled the matter mistakenly. I decided to resign by the end of the day the news broke and have no regrets. I feel better about it as time passes.

By resigning from the front bench I will be much freer to speak as to the future composition of the chamber and about subjects like education. I shall be a loose cannon on the backbenches. I quote Gladstone: "I come among you unmuzzled now."

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford Resigned last week when Conservative leader in the Lords Lord Cranborne - whom he taught at Eton - was sacked by William Hague for brokering a deal with the government that will see 91 hereditary peers keep their seats in the first stage of Labour's reformation plans

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