Prospect MagazineProspect Magazine

Is this the most secret election in the world?

By Emily Lawford

13 Jun 2023 · 4 min read

informed Summary

  1. A hereditary peer will be voted into the U.K.'s House of Lords this week. It’s time to end this archaic process, argues Emily Lawford in Prospect Magazine.

The results of an election will be announced on Wednesday. A man will be elevated to a position of power that he can—if he wishes—keep for the rest of his life. Seven hundred and seventy-seven voters are currently choosing between three candidates, themselves selected from a small group of eligible families. The general public has no say in the matter. None of the candidates is speaking to the press.

We do, however, know a few things about what the winner will be like. They will be a white, male, Liberal Democrat; they will probably have gone to Eton and they will probably be descended from a prime minister. This isn’t North Korea—it’s just how our House of Lords works. Since Liberal Democrat hereditary peer Viscount Falkland announced his retirement from the Lords in March, three others—Lord Belhaven and Stenton, Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor and Earl Russell—have been competing for his seat. 

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content