Yesterday was Polling Day. You may have missed this. It was Polling Day in the House of Lords. And all Members of the House had a vote.
The occasion was a by-election to elect an hereditary peer to fill the vacancy following the sad death of Lord David Strabolgi at age of 96. 92 hereditary peers continue to sit and vote in the House of Lords and when one of them dies there has to be a by-election in which olnly hereditary peers can stand to fill the vacancy. 75 of the 92 represent their political parties (or the cross-benches) and in any by-election the only peers who can vote are the “elected” hereditary peers from the relevant grouping. However, Lord Strabolgi was one of fifteen hereditary peers elected by the whole House (two others are “hereditary office-bearers”).
Such all-House by-elections are rare events and in yesterday’s by-election 414 peers voted. The voting was by the alternative vote system – so those voting had to number their preferences (never say that the House of Lords is not at the cutting edge of electoral practices).
And the result has been announced today. In fact, the alternative vote wasn’t needed, as the successful candidate secured more than fifty per cent of first preference votes – 233 out of 414.
So Viscount Hanworth was elected and will take the Labour Whip in the Lords.
The runner-up (Earl Carlisle) got 26 votes – one of six candidates to get more than ten votes. Seventeen candidates got less than ten of which four got no votes at all
Isn’t democracy wonderful?