Skip to main content

Becoming Lord Speaker and campaigning on the Horizon scandal: House of Lords podcast

Friday 18 June 2021

Recently elected Lord Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith and conservative peer Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom, Chair of the Risk Assessment and Risk Planning Committee, guest star on the House of Lords podcast in a new episode published today.

Lord McFall talks about his career, what led him to stand for Lord Speaker and what he hopes to achieve. Lord Arbuthnot speaks in detail about his campaigning for subpostmasers who have been wrongly convicted for more than a decade. He explains how the Horizon scandal began, what needs to be done and what drives him and others to campaign for justice. He also explains the work of the Risk Assessment and Risk Planning Committee.

Highlights include:

  • Lord McFall explains what makes the House of Lords unique and how he thinks both Houses of Parliament should collaborate more.
    ‘This is a UK Parliament and the work of the Lords compliments the work of the House of Commons, it doesn't crowd it out at all.’
  • Lord McFall says it is human engagement in the Chamber that has been missed during the pandemic, and it’s important to return to normal to allow pre-pandemic levels of scrutiny to take place.
  • ‘What has driven me has been a sense of monstrous injustice which has got to be put right.’
    Lord Arbuthnot speaks against the Post Office’s behaviour during the Horizon scandal, saying that they were aware they were prosecuting people on the basis of false evidence.
  • ‘We want to be able to respond to risks that are more than just those risks that people are old enough to have experienced in their lifetimes.’
    Lord Arbuthnot also explains the work of the Risk Assessment and Risk Planning Committee which he chairs, highlighting a recent evidence session with speculative fiction writers on how to expand the boundaries of possibility and consider risks that politicians and strategists might lack the imagination to work out.

More information:

The series is a behind the scenes look at how Parliament’s second chamber works, featuring interviews with staff and members from across the House.

It is hosted by Lords staff members Matt Purvis and Amy Green.
Listen and subscribe at

Read the transcript.

For further information, contact the House of Lords Press Office 020 7219 8550

Subscribe to Lords newsletter

Sign up for the House of Lords newsletter for the latest news, debates and business

Latest tweets