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Parliament Week: Shining a light on the important work of the House of Lords

Parliament Week: Shining a light on the important work of the House of Lords

(Alamy)

3 min read

In 2010, as I walked into the Chamber of The House of Lords to swear my allegiance to the late Queen Elizabeth II, whilst humbled and truly honoured, there was an emotion of bittersweetness going through my mind as to how I came to prominence – like most colleagues who were MPs in The House of Commons, or other place.

I have never felt so proud and honoured knowing that my voice will be heard in this historical Chamber, a Chamber which I had only read in my Law books or seen on TV. Let me tell you though, I was also a bag of nerves, that imposter syndrome coming to the forefront of my mind – “you are not the right fit for this place”, as well as feeling like Hilda Ogden from Coronation Street awaiting a tap on my shoulder and asked to leave. How very different I feel today.

I am not going to say it was easy, there is a lot to learn on the huff, but through true grit I was determined to watch, focus and learn from my colleagues. Politics is so important, even more so in today’s very vocal world on social media platforms. I was asked to get involved in the Lord Speakers Peers in Schools work. This is where me and other colleagues visit schools that are in our local areas, as well as around the vicinities to open a better vision or version of just what Parliament feels like in the House of Lords. 

I have never felt so proud and honoured knowing that my voice will be heard in this historical Chamber

The House of Lords is the most respectful place I have ever worked in, and I have to say that I get really frustrated at the negative press that this House receives. Instead of recognising such high levels of great knowledge, passion, loyalty and wisdom, all is lost when the rhetoric just rolls on about it not being an elected chamber and a sheer waste of taxpayers’ money. 

As a legislator, I decided the best way to fully understand the journey of bills within the House of Lords, was to become a Deputy Speaker. This is a voluntary role, supporting our Lord Speaker and a role of great honour and importance. This role has helped me so much in seeing how legislation from the Commons is scrutinised and thoroughly looked at line by line and goes back in a much better state than when it was received.

History plays a huge part in the workings of both Houses and as such there are constitutional rules on legislation on Finance Bills, which technically means that the House does not go through the different procedures as we do on other bills, this is more as a matter of fact. 

As a legislator, the moment to really speak up and use my “gobby northerner” voice came when I fought tooth and nail challenging the government to include non-fatal strangulation as a separate crime in the face of the Domestic Abuse Act. Colleagues from all sides adding their names alongside mine, to ensure better protection for victims of domestic abuse. 

Parliament Week is important to show your moral compass, to shine a light on thought provoking debates that at times sparks alight this formidable place – The House of Lords.

 

Baroness Newlove, Conservative peer and Lords Deputy Speaker.

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