The truth about the “Lord” claim
I care not about the UK peerage, but for the record, when people mockingly claim Christopher Monckton is not a Lord it shows just how desperate they are to attack the man and distract people from hearing his arguments.
The correct answer when people say: “He’s not a Lord” is one line.
The Letters Patent grants him a peerage, and his passport lists him as a Viscount. You really are scared of talking about scientific evidence aren’t you?
Attacks on his title are ad hominem remarks — designed to suggest he can’t be trusted to speak about anything else. The truth is a complex legal debate borne from that the centuries old messy ancient liaison between the British monarchy and UK Parliament. Do you want to talk historic legal technicalities or science?
There is no deception on the part of Christopher Monckton. He has never claimed he was a voting member of the House of Lords in the UK. He inherited the title the Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley from his father and grandfather before that. It is indeed inscribed on his passport as such, I can confirm.
For we uninformed Australians, the title Viscount is ranked above the more common Baron, but beneath that of Dukes, Marquess, and Earls. All of the above can use the term “Lord”.
Monckton explains the complex legal situation:
“The House of Lords Act 1999 debarred all but 92 of the 650 Hereditary Peers, including my father, from sitting or voting, and purported to – but did not – remove membership of the Upper House. Letters Patent granting peerages, and consequently membership, are the personal gift of the Monarch. Only a specific law can annul a grant. The 1999 Act was a general law. The then Government, realizing this defect, took three maladroit steps: it wrote asking expelled Peers to return their Letters Patent (though that does not annul them); in 2009 it withdrew the passes admitting expelled Peers to the House (and implying they were members); and it told the enquiry clerks to deny they were members: but a written Parliamentary Answer by the Lord President of the Council admits that general legislation cannot annul Letters Patent, so I am The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (as my passport shows), a member of the Upper House but without the right to sit or vote, and I have never pretended otherwise.”
Do I think that this an unwelcome distraction and he should stop using the title? I used to. Now though I am convinced that were Monckton to appear completely untouchably reasonable, like say Anthony Watts or Dr David Evans, the media would ignore him too. It’s part of his clown disguise, and it reels the small minds in. It’s rather pathetic that the level of discourse is so damningly poor that this sort of theatrical flag has any place in the public debate about whether we should spend billions on trying to change the weather. It’s as if the kindy kids escaped into the Editorial Department of major mastheads.
“It’s on his passport. Excuse me, but I think your attack-dog is off his leash.”
Can we talk about something that matters please?
UPDATE: Can Monckton Claim to be a member of the House of Lords (a non-voting one)? Yes.
According to a constitutional lawyer. Yes, quite so. From WUWT:
Monckton, on returning from Australia from his tour this autumn, consulted Hugh O’Donoghue, a leading constitutional lawyer at Carmelite Chambers, overlooking the River Thames just a mile downstream from the Houses of Parliament. His question: “Am I or am I not a member of the House of Lords?”
O’Donoghue, who specializes in difficult human-rights cases and Peerage law, spent months carefully researching Monckton’s question. He says Lord Monckton “was and is correct at all points”. The conclusion of his 11-page opinion (see PDF at bottom of this article) , reviewing 1000 years of Peerage law, is clear on the issue:
“Lord Monckton’s statement that he is a member of the House of Lords, albeit without the right to sit or vote, is unobjectionable. His claim is not a false or misleading claim. It is legitimate, proportionate, and reasonable. Likewise, Lord Monckton was correct when he wrote to the US Congress that ‘Letters Patent granting Peerages, and consequently membership [of the House of Lords], are the personal gift of the Monarch. Only a specific law can annul a grant. The 1999 Act was a general law.’ He legitimately drew attention to a parliamentary answer by no less a personage than the Leader of the House, making it plain that the Act was a general law and not a particular law that might have had the effect of revoking Letters Patent. We now have the recent authority of the High Court, in the Mereworth case, for Lord Monckton’s assertion that the 1999 Act did not revoke or annul his Letters Patent. Unless and until such revocation takes place, Lord Monckton remains a member of the House of Lords, and he is fully entitled to say so.”
O’Donoghue-lords-opinion (PDF 335k)
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UPDATE!: The Climate change debate between Lord Christopher Monckton and Richard Dennis will be televised tonight on ABC 24 at 10pm! h/t Tony Gomme.
UPDATE#2: Andy Semple is helping to spread the word and titled his post: