Skip to main content
Menu

Candidates for the 2021 Lord Speaker election

Three candidates are standing for election in the 2021 election for Lord Speaker:

Find out more about the candidates, including their record of parliamentary service, a statement and a video from each candidate below. 

Lord Alderdice

(proposed by Lord Eames, seconded by Baroness Wheatcroft)

Candidate’s election video

Video thumbnail

Candidate’s election address

This year I celebrate 25 years as a member of the House and, coming 66 years old, I am enthusiastic to strengthen the role of our House in the governance of the United Kingdom.

As a young doctor, I went into Northern Ireland politics to change things for the better, became Alliance Leader at the age of 32, and for the next 11 years, while working part-time in the NHS, led Alliance in all the Talks with the British and Irish Governments and other Northern Ireland parties, culminating in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. 

Aged 43, I had already been appointed to the Lords when I stepped down as Alliance Leader and became the first Speaker of the Assembly, setting up and running all aspects of the new legislature, creating a culture of mutual respect, addressing the practical and procedural requirements of a new institution in an old building, and welcoming The Queen, President Clinton and many senior international politicians to Stormont.

In 2004 I was appointed to the Independent Monitoring Commission, tasked by the British and Irish Governments with security normalization in Ireland and the following year was elected President of Liberal International, the global federation of more than 100 liberal political parties.   I travelled extensively, addressing violent political conflict in many countries, and establishing the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building in Belfast, and the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at the University of Oxford. 

During the Coalition Government, as Convenor of the Liberal Democrats in the Lords, I worked closely with the Conservative leadership and became increasingly aware of how the House needed to evolve to become a more effective second Chamber for the whole country.  The alienation of many in Northern Ireland is mirrored in Scotland, and increasingly in Wales, the North of England and West Country.  People feel their culture and concerns are not treated with respect. 

Exacerbated by the pandemic the maintenance of our United Kingdom is now in doubt and in the House itself, backbenchers and members of the groups complain to me that their efforts to contribute to an effective parliament are not valued and appreciated.  They look to the Lord Speaker to stand firm on their behalf.  

We must return as soon as possible to work at Westminster, addressing the major challenges of Restoration and Renewal, the External Management Review, and the Ellenbogen Report.  This programme cannot be implemented without strong but respectful leadership that confronts the challenges with sensitivity to the needs of the whole House, including the staff without whom we simply could not function. 

Changes in the culture and operation of the House to ensure it is an effective work-place where all feel comfortable, must be accompanied by a wider programme of engagement with our fellow citizens and the devolved institutions, so that the remarkable work of the House is better understood and appreciated by our fellow citizens.

I believe I can give the determined leadership that can deliver for the benefit of the whole House.

Record of parliamentary service

House of Lords 

 

1996 

Introduced into the House of Lords 

2003-2005 

Member, Procedure Committee 

2010 

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Health 

2010-2011 

Member, Science and Technology: Sub-Committee I 

2010-2014 

Convenor, Liberal Democrats 

2010-2014 

Member, House Committee 

2010-2014 

Member, Liaison Committee 

2013-2014 

Member, Mental Capacity Act 2005 Committee 

2015-2016 

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Northern Ireland 

2015-2016 

Member, Administration and Works Committee 

2019-2020 

Member, EU External Affairs Sub-Committee 

2020 

Member, International Agreements Committee 

2020- 

Deputy Chairman of Committees 

2020- 

Member, COVID-19 Committee 

2021- 

Member, Procedure and Privileges Committee 

 

 

Other 

 

1987-1998 

Leader, Alliance Party of Northern Ireland 

1998-2004 

Presiding Officer, Northern Ireland Assembly 

1998-2004 

MLA (Alliance) for Belfast East 

1996-1998 

Member, Northern Ireland Forum 

 

 

All-party parliamentary groups (offices held) 

2017- 

Officer, Psychology Group 

2018- 

Vice-Chair, Latin America Group 

2019- 

Vice-Chair, Islamic Finance Group 

2020- 

Vice-President, Group on Antisemitism 

2020- 

Vice-Chair, Colombia Group 

2020- 

Vice-Chair, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity Group 

 Entry in the Register of Lords’ Interests

Category 1: Directorships

President, ARTIS (Europe) Ltd (research and risk modelling, including psychology of terrorism and political violence)

Category 2: Remunerated employment, office, profession etc.

Retired Consultant Psychiatrist

Occasional speeches, lectures and broadcasts

Member, International Advisory Committee, Westminster School China Project

Category 3: Person with significant control of a company (PSC)

ARTIS (Europe) Ltd

Category 4: Shareholdings (a)

ARTIS (Europe) Ltd

Category 10: Non-financial interests (a)

Director and Vice President, International Dialogue Initiative (not-for-profit company registered in the State of Maryland, USA)

Category 10: Non-financial interests (b)

Senior Research Fellow, Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford

Research Affiliate in the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford

Director, Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict (CRIC), Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford

Research Associate in the Centre for International Studies, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford

Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA (interest ceased 28 November 2020)

Visiting Research Fellow, St Benet’s Hall, Oxford

Category 10: Non-financial interests (d)

President, Peru Support Group

Category 10: Non-financial interests (e)

President, Westminster Pastoral Foundation

Adviser, Oxford Research Group

Trustee, Methuen Trust, Corsham

Trustee, Liberal Party Supplementary Pension Fund

Trustee (formerly Chairman of Board of Trustees), National Liberal Club

Vice Chairman, Gulf Policy Forum

Trustee and Director, The John Smith Trust

Member, Advisory Committee, Global Ethical Finance Initiative

 

Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town

(proposed by Baroness Andrews, seconded by Lord Hunt of Wirral)

Candidate’s election video

Video thumbnail

Candidate’s election address

“Two Houses; One Parliament”

In standing for election as Speaker, I understand the responsibility the role carries. I want to increase recognition of the special role we play in our democracy, giving us the confidence to advocate our work and achievements. Ideally, we should see ourselves described as “a House of Experts” rather than “the unelected House”.

The strength of our House, which complements the Commons, manifests itself in Select Committees, Secondary Legislation and Delegated Powers scrutiny, legislation and, hopefully, the new Parliamentary Partnership Council.  Expert work, drawing on Members’ varied experience, plays an unparalleled role in our system of governance.

Instead of geographical constituencies, we reach into the professions, the financial world, education, housing, law, the military, the third sector, disability campaigns, arts, heritage, agriculture, medicine, science, public service, consumer affairs as well as past ministerial experience. This expertise informs our debates and should be fully exploited while ensuring hitherto underrepresented and unheard voices become part of our family.

Of course there are challenges: the size of the House (continuing the work of the Lord Speaker and Lord Burns); realising our aspirations for greater diversity, bedding in new structures; and contributing to the country’s emergence from Covid.  These must be faced within the objective of strengthening the role the Lords can fulfil. I would facilitate discussions across our House and the Commons, and with government, and similarly ensure that, in R&R, the decant is as speedy as possible so we can be back functioning in our rightful place.

More immediately, we need a path out of Covid working, bringing Members back to Westminster safely but rapidly to function as a real House of scrutiny and legislation.

My experience in the public arena –running charities, in the media and in this House – should help me promote the House and its Members, not simply to answer critics but to foster greater engagement with MPs, stakeholders, the public and others, making us more open and able to draw on input from those affected by our deliberations.

In facilitating change (merging charities, running voluntary organisations, creating new bodies), advocating for others, and changing public attitudes, my work prior to coming to the Lords involved team building across organisations and professions, while always remaining clear about the core business of each entity.  Such focus must drive how the Lords performs (through our composition and procedures) to fulfil our key functions: shaping legislation, scrutinising government and contributing to policy.

Colleagues know my values, and my commitment to “Two Houses; One Parliament”, ensuring our future is adaptable, strengthened and championed, and my aim to be an ambassador for the House and indeed Parliament.

We can never take our democratic traditions for granted.  Unless Parliament and Government are respected and understood, we will fail to safeguard and improve our country, its security, its people, its wider responsibilities, and the health and future of our treasured Union.

Record of parliamentary service

 House of Lords

 

2010

Introduced into the House of Lords

2011

Member, Joint Committee on the Draft Defamation Bill

2011-15

Opposition Whip

2012-2016

Shadow Spokesperson, Business Innovation and Skills

2012-2017

Shadow Spokesperson, Cabinet Office

2015-2017

Shadow Spokesperson, Equalities and Women’s Issues

2016-2020

Shadow Spokesperson, Exiting the European Union

2018-2020

Shadow Spokesperson, Cabinet Office

2016-

Shadow Spokesperson, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

2017-

Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

2017-

Member, Liaison Committee

2020-

Shadow Spokesperson, Cabinet Office, Constitutional and Devolved Issues

2020-

Shadow Spokesperson, Wales

2020-

Shadow Spokesperson, Digital, Culture, Media and Sports

 

 

All-party parliamentary groups (offices held)

2013-

Vice-Chair, Alcohol Harm Group

Entry in the Register of Lords’ Interests

Category 10: Non-financial interests (a)

Visiting Professor, University of Westminster

Chair, Property Agents Code of Conduct Working Group 2020-2021 (organised by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and The Property Ombudsman (TPO)

Category 10: Non-financial interests (e)

Trustee, Dartmouth Street Trust

Vice President, Fabian Society

 

Lord McFall of Alcluith

(proposed by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, seconded by Lord Randall of Uxbridge)

Candidate’s election video

Video thumbnail

Candidate’s election address

The election for Lord Speaker comes at a crucial time for the House of Lords.

I am a passionate parliamentarian and I believe in the House of Lords.

Our membership has some of the most able and talented people in the land, from all walks of life, raising the level of national debate; effectively scrutinising and modifying legislation for the better; and holding the government to account.

But as we all know, our House must remain on the path of reform and modernisation, respecting the Burns Report, engaging all members – listening and acting. 

I am dedicated to protecting the crucial and fundamental constitutional role of the House of Lords that ensures our work has impact.

As Senior Deputy Speaker and Chair of the Procedure Committee I am proud to have led the work on restructuring of our Committees and the introduction of hybrid working to enable our work and scrutiny to continue during this challenging period for our country.  This was achieved by listening to members, seeking advice and working collaboratively.  

I believe that this same approach will be vital as we face the next set of challenges – our future working arrangements, progressing the cultural and managerial change following two external reviews and dealing with Restoration and Renewal. 

Our reform has to have purpose.  All too often we see change for the sake of it, rather than with a clear need and vision of how and why it will be delivered.

My vision is clear – we need a vibrant second chamber which is open, transparent and engages with the wider public.  I know the value of this House and its members, but all too often this is not communicated beyond the corridors of Parliament.  We need a clear plan to communicate not only what we do, but the real value of what we do.  Our Committee work especially can be the basis of the ‘national conversation’ in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Reaching out to young people, particularly in hard to reach communities, is vital if we are genuinely going to reinvigorate interest in the House of Lords and ensure that our democracy has a sound foundation.  With direct engagement and the use of technology we can open the doors of the House of Lords and ensure our debates and discussions have value and meaning for people across the UK.  We have a role defending and promoting the Union – as I did in establishing the Inter-Parliamentary Forum on Brexit bringing together the Devolved Parliaments and Westminster.

I am optimistic and excited about our future.  Throughout my political career I have dealt with some of the most complex issues, working with all political parties in all parts of the United Kingdom.  As Lord Speaker I will adopt the same approach to bring about effective change and ensure that the House of Lords is valued and respected. 

I have the vision, energy, and necessary experience to successfully face the task ahead and serve the House as Lord Speaker.

Record of parliamentary service

House of Commons

1987-2010

Member of Parliament for Dumbarton (1987-2005), then West Dunbartonshire (2005-2010)

1988-1992

Member, Defence Committee

1989-1991

Opposition Whip

1992

Member, Transport Committee

1992-1997

Opposition Spokesperson for Scottish Affairs

1997-1998

Government Whip

1998-1999

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office

2000-2001

Member, Public Administration Committee

2001-2010

Chair, Treasury Committee

2001-2005

Member, Treasury Sub-Committee

2001-2010

Member, Liaison Committee

 

 

House of Lords

 

2010

Introduced into the House of Lords

2011

Member, Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee

2011

Member, Joint Committee on the Draft Financial Services Bill

2012-2013

Member, Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards

2012-2015

Member, Economic Affairs Committee

2015-2016

Member, EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee

2016

Member, European Union Committee

2016-

Senior Deputy Speaker

2016-

Member, House of Lords Commission

2016-2019

Chair, Committee for Privileges and Conduct

2019-

Chair, Procedure and Privileges Committee

2016-

Chair, Liaison Committee

2016-

Chair, Committee of Selection

2016-

Chair, Hybrid Instruments Committee

2016-

Chair, Standing Order (Private Bills) Committee

2016-

Chair, Freedom of Information Advisory Panel

2016-

Chair, Sub-Committee on Leave of Absence

2020-

Member, Parliamentary Works Estimates Committee

 

 

Other

 

2004

Privy Councillor

Entry in the Register of Lords’ Interests

Category 2: Remunerated employment, office, profession etc.

In receipt of salary and travel/secretarial expenses as Senior Deputy Speaker, House of Lords

Category 4: Shareholdings (a)

Alcluith Limited (trading entity for member's advisory and other professional services) (interest ceased 24 November 2020)

Category 8: Gifts, benefits and hospitality

From time to time the member receives hospitality from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Defence and Security Issues which over the course of a calendar year may exceed £300 in value

Category 10: Non-financial interests (a)

Unremunerated Director (formerly Chairman) and Member of Advisory Board, New City Agenda Ltd (formerly New City Network (London) Ltd) (not-for-profit think tank aiming to develop ideas and research on financial services policy)

Category 10: Non-financial interests (b)

Honorary Professor, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow

Category 10: Non-financial interests (e)

Member, Advisory Board, Systemic Risk Company (SRC)