The House of Lords Podcast


Becoming Lord Speaker and campaigning on the Horizon Scandal

Season 1, Ep. 6

What drove Lord McFall of Alcluith to stand for election as Lord Speaker, and what does he hope to achieve?

This month we speak to the newly elected Lord Speaker about his career as a teacher and then in Parliament.

‘The best think tank in town’

Lord McFall also explains what makes the House of Lords unique, responding to the pandemic and  how he thinks both Houses of Parliament should collaborate more.

‘What has driven me has been a sense of monstrous injustice which has got to be put right.’

We also speak to Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom, who has been campaigning for subpostmasers who have been wrongly convicted for more than a decade. He explains how the Horizon scandal began, what needs to be done and what drives him and others to campaign for justice.

‘What we were worried about in that particular session, was the risk that the politicians and the strategists might lack the imagination to work out what could get us.'

Lord Arbuthnot also explains the work of the new Lords committee that he chairs, exploring what potential risks the UK could face in the future and how the country can be better prepared for them.

More Episodes


The Speakers

Season 2, Ep. 1
This month we hear from Parliament’s two Speakers: Lord Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith, and Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle.In this episode, they discuss how their similar backgrounds have forged a new working relationship between the two speakers, the importance of engaging with the whole country and the surprisingly international aspects of their roles.‘We share a common heritage in that we're both local lads from the area that we represented. And that was a really important element of our representative history’ Lord McFall of Alcluith‘It's about both using soft power to make friends around the world, reaching out... Democracy matters to both of us, so it's about meeting up with people, sharing ideals’ Sir Lindsay HoyleThe Speakers also discuss the challenges of the last two years and preparing for the future.‘I'm still trying to get used to the idea of... What is a Speaker in the Commons really like? Because we've not really found out what it's like. No sooner than I got elected, within days I'm into a General Election, then Christmas comes, everybody's talking about Brexit, and before we know it, we're then into a pandemic.’ Sir Lindsay Hoyle‘I keep thinking of 2007, which to me, was just round the corner, but in 2007, that was the year of the iPhone. And that's a new life that's been adopted since 2007. So the pace of change, technologically, is going to be great. And we have got to be alive to that. Because our primary interest is engaging with the public, and with society.’ Lord McFall of Alcluith·Find out more about the Lord Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith·Find out more about the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay HoyleRead a transcript

At the table – with Chloe Mawson

Season 1, Ep. 7
·How do you decide what constitutes the House of Lords when you cannot all meet in person?·How has life changed for women in Parliament over the last 21 years?·What do clerks do when they’re sat at the table in the chamber?·How does it feel to miss out on a tour of the Washington Post with Brad Pitt?This month we hear from Chloe Mawson on all of these questions and more. Chloe is the Clerk Assistant, the second most senior role in the House of Lords Administration and the first woman to hold the role since the 1600s. ‘People were going through some of the most stressful periods of their life totally away from work and then having to deliver the most extreme changes that we've seen in this place for a long, long time.’In this episode, she explains what the role of a clerk is when they are in the chamber, creating new ways of doing business during the pandemic and her hopes for lasting changes to the way we work.‘I really hope that we can use our experience of the last 18 months to continue to allow as much flexibility as we can while of course, ensuring that we give really good services to the House and just make sure that we don't go back to a time where flexible working feels like a risk to your career progression, because certainly at times I worried about that and I hope that we're now in a new age where that's just not the case anymore.’We also hear from Chloe about how she first came to work in Parliament and whether clerks make good quizzers.