Has an MP ever made use of the House of Lords Precedence Act to sit in the House of Lords?

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The Politicus
Dec 03, 2021 12:17 PM 0 Answers
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During Business Questions on December 2nd, the Lord President of the Council - Jacob Rees-Mogg - was teased by the SNP's Pete Wishart about an alleged £6 million loan from his company Saliston Ltd, as well as a claim that Conservative party guarantees peerages to those who donate over £3 million to the party:-

Today, of course, it is the Leader of the House who is all over the
headlines, as he emerges as the latest Government Minister to be
investigated because of his outside interests. Six million quid! I
never knew he was so loaded. He could buy two peerages in the House of Lords with that money.

When he responded, Rees-Mogg mentioned the House of Lords Precedence Act 1539:-

The hon. Gentleman wishes me to go to the House of Lords, which is
very flattering of him. He is clearly unaware of the 1539 Act about
places in Parliament—the House of Lords Precedence Act 1539—which
allows the Lord President, when not a peer, to go and sit in the House
of Lords. It is not a privilege I have ever taken up, as I am worried
that their lordships might be a bit surprised, but the Lord High
Chancellor, the Lord Privy Seal, the Lord President of the Council,
the Lord Treasurer—a position currently in commission—and various
others have the right to go and sit in the House of Lords when they
are not peers, so I assume that is what the hon. Gentleman was talking
about.

The relevant section of the legislation seems to be Section VIII, which indeed appears to give the holders of these posts the right to sit in the House of Lords, "at the uppermost parte of the sakkes in the middes of the saide Parliament Chamber, eyther there to sytt uppon one fourme or uppon the uppermost sakk".

Presumably this privilege was used when these posts were regularly held by non-MPs, but have any elected MPs ever made use of this privilege to sit in the House of Lords while holding these positions?

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  • December 3, 2021