I was rather taken by the plan, said to be being considered by the Prime Minister, to create a hundred or so “sunset peers” in the event of the House of Lords deciding to oppose the Commons and the referendum majority on the triggering of Article 50.
A sunset peer, as I understand it, is someone who agrees to take his or her seat in the Lords, vote on a particular issue, and then resign. The resignation doesn’t lead to the loss of the title, just of the right to sit in the Lords.
I have given the matter serious thought and am now prepared to declare my willingness to be a sunset peer. I think it would be rather fun. Though I should make it clear that I am not prepared to be no more than lobby fodder. Yes, I will enter the right lobby, but I intend to speak in the debates as well.
I do know that it is generally considered to be bad form for a new peer to make a maiden speech earlier than a year or so after taking his seat. But a different etiquette must surely apply to we sunsetters. After all, we will only be there for a couple of weeks. Anyway, I have watched many debates in the House of Lords over the years so I know (probably better than most recently created life peers) how to deliver a speech in that chamber. I am sure I will enjoy my fortnight or so of legislating.
Some of you will think I am only after the title, in order to get priority on restaurant bookings. But you are wrong. I happen to know that almost all restaurants now assume that all life peers are the lowest of the low. I will get no benefit from being Lord Utley of Utley in the County of Yorkshire (the title I have chosen), but I will be able to treasure the volumes of Hansard which will contain my contributions to the Brexit debate.
Is anyone else prepared to join me?