Exclusive

Shadow Health Secretary says size of House of Lords ‘out of control’ and introducing an ‘80 year limit is the right balance’

14 June 2024, 10:45

You can run for president for United states but you can’t be a member of the House of Lords
You can run for president for United states but you can’t be a member of the House of Lords. Picture: Alamy, Getty

By Charlotte Frawley

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting spoke to LBC’s Nick Ferrari about Labour’s proposal to enforce a House of Lords retirement age of 80.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Nick pointed out that the Labour manifesto pledge would mean ‘Alf Dubs has to go but Lord Lebedev stays’.

Wes Streeting replied: ‘The House of Lords is too large, we need to reduce the number of unelected peers’

‘The House of Lords does a good job of scrutinising us.’

‘What we are proposing is a retirement age of 80 years old but for people who are already in the House of Lords that wouldn’t come into effect until the end of parliament. We won’t be losing Alf Dubs yet.’

‘Retirement ages aren’t unusual and I think an 80 year limit is the right balance’.

‘You are aware who the president of the United States is?'

Nick put the question to the Labour frontbencher, ‘you are aware who the president of the United States is Mr Streeting?’.

US President Joe Biden the current Democratic nominee for the US 2024 presidential election is 81 years old.

Wes Streeting said: ‘No we are thinking about the House of Lords’

‘That’s a decision for the American people’

Nick Ferrari pushed the point: ‘No, this is a decision for the Labour government’.

Mr Streeting rebutted: ‘We have to draw the line somewhere Nick and we are trying to reduce the size of the House of Lords because we think it has spiralled out of control.’

Lord Dubs v Lord Lebedev

Nick Ferrari is referring to Lord Alfred Dubs, a British Labour politician who was appointed a Labour life peer with the title Baron Dubs in 1994.

In 2008, Dubs participated in 42 House of Lords debates, well above average for all peers.

Lord Lebedev is a Russian-British businessman who owns Lebedev Holdings Ltd, which owns the Evening Standard.

As of January 2024 Lebedev has only attended the House of Lords twice making him one of its least active members.

In July 2020, Lebedev was nominated for a life peerage by Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson for philanthropy and services to the media, a move that drew accusations of cronyism.

Additionally, close ties between the British establishment and prominent Russians were a concern as Lord Lebedev derived his wealth from his father Alexander Lebedec a Russian oligarch and former KGB officer.