Why are Lords specifically enfranchised in Scotland?

According to a consultation paper on the upcoming Scottish referendum, the following groups of people are eligible to vote in Scottish Parliamentary elections:
[li]British citizens resident in Scotland[/li][li]Commonwealth citizens resident in Scotland[/li][li]Irish citizens resident in Scotland[/li][li]Citizens of other EU countries resident in Scotland[/li][li]Members of the House of Lords resident in Scotland[/li][/ul]
The list for European Parliamentary elections is the same, except that certain overseas British nationals are also enfranchised.

My question is this: Why are “Members of the House of Lords resident in Scotland” singled out as a separate class? Is it not always the case that a member of the House of Lords resident in Scotland is already enfranchised under one of the first three categories? I was under the impression that holding British, Irish, or Commonwealth citizenship was a requirement to sit in the House of Lords.

I suppose it’s meant as a clarification to make clear that peers really can vote. They can’t in general elections for the House of Commons, so it doesn’t go without saying; without the addition people might erroneously assume that peers are excluded from the referendum as well.

Remember he British (English?) system grew up with a parliament consisting of a house for the Lords and a house for the peons (sorry, commoners). Not sure if Lords are excluded from voting for members of the house of commoners, but it would be logical.

If so the list would have to be altered to add lords for elections that don’t relate to positions in the government of Britain, where Lords are a separate bunch.

I admit, however, that my explanation does not address those Scottish peers who do not sit in the House of Lords. By my logic, they should have the vote, but my explanation would imply that you’d list Scottish peers rather than Scottish members of the House of Lords. There is no apparent reason why peers who do not sit in the House should be disenfranchised whereas House members aren’t.

My understanding is that there are no longer Scottish peers who don’t sit in the Lords. I’m pretty sure that your initial answer to the question is correct - it clarifies that members of the Lords (who can’t vote in Westminster elections) may vote for MSPs and in the upcoming referendum.

Hereditary peers lost the automatic right to sit in the Lords in 1999. A reduced number were then elected by the electorate of the hereditaries to sit in the reformed Lords. Those latter are ineligible to vote in General Elections and by-elections to the Commons, but can vote in local and European ones and, if resident, in the independence referendum.

The other hereditary peers have the same voting rights as a regular citizen. Life peers are automatically members of the Lords (unless they’ve been kicked out for some reason) and have the same voting rights as the remaining hereditaries in the Lords.

There’s two Scottish hereditary peers who have sat in the Commons, confusingly enough: Michael Ancram (13th Marquess of Lothian), and John Thurso (3rd Viscount Thurso).

Now that I did not know. I mean, I’d heard of Michael Ancram, but didn’t know he was a peer when he sat in the Commons.

He sat as an MP for years because he wasn’t yet a peer. His dad died after Lords reform, so he was fine to stay on. If his dad had died earlier he would have either had to renounce his peerage, or to step down. Thurso used to be in the Lords, but stood as an MP after reform happened.

There was a third hereditary peer who sat in the Commons: Douglas Hogg (3rd Viscount Hailsham). His situation was the same as Ancrams. He stood down in 2010, presumably because of the shame of being caught getting his moat cleaned on expenses.

Ancram also stood down in 2010, for health reasons. Viscount Thurso still sits in the Commons.

Since this thread has evolved to listing curious examples of peers who served in the House of Commons, I’d like to add the peculiar case of Alec Douglas-Home, Prime Minister for about a year in 1963-1964. He was heir to the earldom of Home, and was elected to Parliament (i.e., the Commons) while his father was still alive - he was eligible because he was not a peer at the time.

When his father died in 1951, Alec Douglas-Home inherited the peerage, entered the House of Lords and left the House of Commons. He served in a number of government positions subsequently (for which peers are not ineligible). In 1963, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan resigned, and the Queen appointed his fellow Conservative the new Prime Minister upon Macmillan’s advice. For a few days, Douglas-Home was Prime Minister and a member of the House of Lords at the same time, being the 14th Earl of Home - a rare situation. He then renounced his peerage and left the House of Lords, being for a couple of days a Prime Minister without being a member of either House - an even rarer situation. A few days later, there was a by-election in a safe Conservative seat, which Douglas-Home won, so he returned to Parliament as a member of the House of Commons.

Years after the end of his tenure as Prime Minister, he was awarded a life peerage, so he returned to Parliament yet again as a peer.

Well, if you’re going to bring that up, you really ought to mention the exactly parallel case of 2nd Viscount Hailsham. Quintin Hogg had been an MP (having originally been the winning candidate in the notorious 1938 Oxford by-election), but had later inherited his father’s viscountcy. In 1963 he disclaimed that peerage in order to stand for the Conservative leadership, which is what forced the Earl of Home into doing the same. He then also re-entered the Commons in a by-election but lost out in the leadership ‘election’. Seven years later he was given a life peerage in order to become Lord Chancellor. When he died, his aforementioned son of moat fame claimed the disclaimed viscountcy.

It used to be said that only prisoners, peers and lunatics were not eligible to vote.

And the Queen.

Wait, so hereditary peers are permitted to vote both for representation in the House of Lords (whenever a hereditary member dies or retires, correct?) AND for representation in the House of Commons? And to stand for election in either House?

No, as far as the law stands, they cannot vote for the Commons, but they will be allowed to vote in the Scottish independence referendum this coming September. They can, of course, vote for the elected hereditary peers in the Lords.

Edit: I have to correct myself. Apparently it is membership in the House of Lords which bars suffrage for the Commons, not the status of a peer (it’s been like that since 1999 - before then, there was no need to differentiate since all peers were members of the House of Lords). So yes, hereditary peers vote for both the Lords and the Commons, and were also eligible to be elected, as long as they were not members of the House of Lords.

As I understand it, only those hereditaries already sitting in the post-reform Lords get to vote on the replacement for a deceased one (the life peers also vote on this), and yes, there’s no reason why a currently non-sitting heriditary cannot try for election to either chamber.

A wrinkle: The number of hereditary peers in the Lords is limited to 92, but only 90 of those are voted on. The Earl Marshall and Lord High Chamberlain are two of the Great Officers of State, and those positions are hereditary, and they get into the Lords by right.

Another wrinkle: Even although the number of hereditaries is limited to 92, there are more than 92 hereditary peers sitting in the Lords. :stuck_out_tongue: Some hereditary peers who didn’t make it into the reformed Lords via ballot have been given life peerages so that they can sit in the Lords - for services to a political party, for example. The Earl of Mar and Kellie springs to mind.

Meant to add this at the time. He’s probably the only Eton-educated, former Queen’s page, hereditary peer who took up social work as his career.

The right to vote for a Member of the House of Commons is not extended to Members of the House of Lords. Not all hereditary peers are Members, having mostly been ejected in 1999. We need some kind of Venn diagram, really.

The right to vote for an elected hereditary peer is limited to those hereditary peers of the same party as the deceased peer. So only Conservative hereditaries would be able to elect a new hereditary into the House in place of a dead Conservative hereditary, and so on.

You cannot be a member of both Houses. So if you’re a sitting MP who happens to be a (removed-from-the-Lords) hereditary, successful election to the Lords would automatically disqualify you from your seat in the Commons. Likewise, a sitting Member of the House of Lords would be ineligible to stand for election to the Commons.

When it comes to the Liberal Democrats, if I remember correctly, there’s actually more voting members than there are candidates trying to get into the House.

So if I’m a non-elected Conservative hereditary peer, I can vote for MP and vote for Conservative hereditary-peer members of the House of Lords. I can also stand for election as MP. Furthermore, I can stand for election (or whatever they call it) as Conservative elected hereditary peer in the House of Lords. Only if I am actually elected as a hereditary-peer member of the House of Lords would I lose any rights, namely those of voting for MP, standing for election as MP, and serving as MP. I would also lose those rights if I were appointed a life peerage.

This means that as a peer with no particular role in Parliament via either House, I nevertheless hold greater political power by way of being able to vote for members of both Houses simultaneously.

BTW, how is the party makeup of the Lords decided? As a non-elected peer, could I finagle a spot in the HoL by starting my own party and electing myself to membership? Presumably not, since there are only 92 elected members. But if I got at least 1/92 of the total number of hereditary peers to join my party and vote for me?