Monday, January 7, 2013

Scottish peer Lord Strathclyde quits Cabinet and Lords role and wants to pursue other interests in life, he had a good run and a good number of posts in an interesting career spanning nearly 30 years

Dear All

He has had a good run and surprisingly has decided to call it a day, Lord Strathclyde has decided to step down as Leader of the House of Lords.

Generally, I would say that Lord Strathclyde has done very well and has been a good servant of the House.

In leaving he has written that he wanted to return to his career in the private sector and "take up other threads of my life and other interests".

Fair enough, if opportunity elsewhere comes a calling, then why turn down a good thing, he is being replaced as Leader of the Lords by Lord Hill of Oareford, who also becomes Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and a member of the Privy Council.

Lord Strathclyde entered the Lords in 1986, the son of former Glasgow Hillhead MP Sir Tam Galbraith and succeeded to the barony of Strathclyde following the death of his grandfather in 1985.

Tory MPs in Glasgow a bygone age.

Lord Strathclyde got around during his time at Westminster racking up positions such as chief whip, Minister for Tourism, Privy Counsellor and leader of the Conservative Party.

When the great cull of hereditary peers happened he escaped the night of the long knives and got elected to remain in the reformed upper chamber in 1999.

The coalition government in 2010 saw him appointed Leader of the Lords.
In his resignation letter, he said that, when first appointed to Government in 1988 he "never believed it was a career for life".

Time has a point of running away sometimes.

 Lord Strathclyde told the PM:

"I started my working life in the private sector and at some stage always hoped to return. I would like to do so now. While I have the highest respect for the privilege and duty of public service, I do not see a political career as the cap to everything and would like, while there is still time, to take up other threads of my life and other interests".

In politics it is always handy to have one eye on the future, just in case things don’t pan out and you have to jump ship. I think Lord Strathclyde has already signed up to something else which we will find out about in due course.

In the House of Lords, a process was started by the Labour Party, but it was a process that wasn’t thought through to its logic conclusion, reform which Blair heralded was piecemeal and haphazard, a journey without a final destination it seems.
Does Westminster need a second chamber, I would say yes, people removed from drafting law is invaluable, a time for pause is useful, something that Holyrood lacks.

 In a letter accepting his resignation, David Cameron praised Lord Strathclyde as "an outstanding Leader of the Lords", adding:

"I entirely understand your desire to pursue other interests."

A successful career, hardly much in the way of bad press and generally in with the bricks, now off at Plumpton presumably with a better offer to go to.

A bit of a shock, Lord Strathclyde seemed to be there forever, but times change and when you have got to go, you have got to go.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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