Succession to Peerages and Baronetcies Bill [HL] - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 2:54 pm ar 9 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Hacking Lord Hacking Llafur 2:54, 9 Chwefror 2024

My Lords, I start by declaring an interest, not only as the holder of the title that entitles me to be in the House as a hereditary Peer but as the holder of a parallel baronetcy. I also have to declare that my firstborn child is a daughter and my second-born child is a son. I did not tell my son that I was going to stand up in the House to disinherit him, but he is a nice chap and I think he will be understanding.

Yes, the Bill affects only the privileged in our society, but they have the same rights as anybody else. The fact is that the present law on inheritance amounts to total discrimination towards women. It has also caused the extinction of several peerages and baronetcies. It parallels the state of our House before the Life Peerages Act when, long after women were entitled to become Members of the House of Commons, they were not entitled to be Members of this House.

This is an excellently drafted Bill and I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Northbrook, and the assistance which has been provided to him. It will deprive men of having the expectation of a baronetcy or a peerage. It will be taken away from them, but that is no different from any expectation of inheritance.

There was, in this House, a Baroness Strange. I would have to describe her as a rather unusual Member of this House. As she was dying, she asked for a piece of paper to be brought to her. On that piece of paper, she disinherited her son from taking over the family stately home in Scotland and chose her younger daughter to inherit it. These things happen, and I believe the Bill takes the right approach.

All I can do is ask the Government, who should seek to be fair to all members of society, to support the Bill.