mcgillianaire: (Union Jack)
[personal profile] mcgillianaire
[ Originally posted 21 October 2013. Last updated 16 July 2016. ]

In the hagiography that greeted Mrs T's death, other politicians of her era emerged out of the woodwork. I was intrigued. How many of these old fogeys were still knocking about? The oldest I was certain of was Tony Benn (88). I also knew
Peter Tapsell, Douglas Hurd, Shirley Williams, Norman Tebbit (all 83), Dennis Skinner, Nigel Lawson (both 81),
Roy Hattersley and Michael Heseltine (80), were still alive. But who else? My findings threw up some interesting names...


In particular: Denis Healey (96), Joel Barnett (90), Bill Rodgers and Jeremy Thorpe (both 84). And in the eulogising that followed Thatcher's demise, Peter Carington (94), Geoffrey Howe (86) and Cecil Parkinson (82) were wheeled out to reminisce about the good ol'days. As I compiled the list below, I began to realise just how many of these grandees were still alive, even if they weren't all politically active any more. The vast majority remain peers in the House of Lords, with the obvious exceptions of Sinn Fein, the Scottish National Party, and incumbent members of the House of Commons. Keen readers of this journal will remember my strongly-felt opposition to an unelected upper chamber. But truth be told, having compiled the list below, I'm not sure if we should opt for a wholly-elected upper chamber. It would be a shame if we could not find a way to accommodate - and tap - the vast experience and knowledge of a limited set of senior politicians.

I haven't really fleshed out a thorough set of ideas, but my initial feeling is that we should allocate between 10-20% of upper house members to experts appointed from all walks of life, including politics. Perhaps we could set a threshold, similar to the one I've adopted below. Which if memory serves, as I began compiling the list in an ad-hoc fashion a few months ago, was limited to those over 60 years old who were either former prime ministers, party leaders or secretaries of the Great Offices of State; other cabinet ministers, who in the absence of the great offices, served in at least two or three ministerial roles; and for members who never joined the executive, served at least twenty-five years as an MP. Of course, this is just my view. I'd love to hear your perspective. And if I've left someone out or if I've made an error, please let me know. Thank you.

Age - Name (Birth year) Birthday
97 - Peter Carington (1919- ) Jun 6
92 - Edward du Cann (1924- ) May 28
89 - James Mackay (1927- ) Jul 2
87 - William Rodgers (1928- ) Oct 28
87 - Winnie Ewing (1929- ) Jul 10
86 - Betty Boothroyd (1929- ) Oct 8
86 - Peter Tapsell (1930- ) Feb 1
86 - Douglas Hurd (1930- ) Mar 8
86 - Gerald Kaufman (1930- ) Jun 21
85 - Shirley Williams (1930- ) Jul 27
85 - Bob Wareing (1930- ) Aug 20
85 - Norman Tebbit (1931- ) Mar 29
84 - Dennis Skinner (1932- ) Feb 11
84 - Nigel Lawson (1932- ) Mar 11
84 - Tam Dalyell (1932- ) Aug 9
83 - Roy Hattersley (1932- ) Dec 28
83 - Michael Heseltine (1933- ) Mar 21
83 - David Winnick (1933- ) Jun 26
81 - Kenneth Baker (1934- ) Nov 3
80 - Robert Maclennan (1936- ) Jun 26
79 - Seamus Mallon (1936- ) Aug 17
78 - Peter Fowler (1938- ) Feb 2
78 - David Steel (1938- ) Mar 31
78 - Geoffrey Robinson (1938- ) May 25
78 - John Prescott (1938- ) May 31
78 - David Owen (1938- ) Jul 2
77 - Donald Anderson (1939- ) Jun 17
76 - Kenneth Clarke (1940- ) Jul 2
76 - Frank Dobson (1940- ) Mar 15
75 - Paddy Ashdown (1941- ) Feb 27
75 - Michael Howard (1941- ) Jul 7
75 - George Young (1941- ) Jul 16
74 - Neil Kinnock (1942- ) Mar 28
74 - Lynda Chalker (1942- ) Apr 29
74 - Norman Lamont (1942- ) May 8
73 - Margaret Beckett (1943- ) Jan 15
73 - John Major (1943- ) Mar 29
73 - Alan Beith (1943- ) Apr 20
73 - Vince Cable (1943- ) May 9
72 - Peter Lilley (1943- ) Aug 23
72 - Chris Patten (1944- ) May 12
71 - Peter Bottomley (1944- ) Jul 30
71 - Margaret Hodge (1944- ) Sep 8
71 - David Trimble (1944- ) Oct 15
71 - Douglas Hogg (1945- ) Feb 5
71 - Ken Livingstone (1945- ) Jun 17
71 - Michael Ancram (1945- ) Jul 7
70 - Clare Short (1946- ) Feb 15
70 - Malcolm Rifkind (1946- ) Jun 21
69 - Jack Straw (1946- ) Aug 3
69 - John Reid (1947- ) May 8
69 - David Blunkett (1947- ) Jun 6
68 - Gerald Howarth (1947- ) Sep 12
68 - Tessa Jowell (1947- ) Sep 17
68 - Ann Widdecombe (1947- ) Oct 4
68 - Virginia Bottomley (1948- ) Mar 12
67 - Gerry Adams (1948- ) Oct 6
67 - Patricia Hewitt (1948- ) Dec 2
67 - David Davis (1948- ) Dec 23
67 - Peter Robinson (1948- ) Dec 29
67 - George Howarth (1949- ) Jun 29
66 - Peter Hain (1950- ) Feb 16
66 - Alan Johnson (1950- ) May 17
66 - Martin McGuinness (1950- ) May 23
66 - Tony Baldry (1950- ) Jul 10
65 - Harriet Harman (1950- ) Jul 30
64 - Gordon Brown (1951- ) Feb 20
64 - Stephen Dorrell (1952- ) Mar 25
64 - Eric Pickles (1952- ) Apr 20
63 - Tony Blair (1953- ) May 6
63 - Michael Portillo (1953- ) May 26
63 - Francis Maude (1953- ) Jul 4
62 - Diane Abbott (1953- ) Sep 27
62 - Peter Mandelson (1953- ) Oct 21
62 - Geoff Hoon (1953- ) Dec 6
62 - Iain Duncan Smith (1954- ) Apr 9

RECENT PASSINGS
98 - Denis Healey1 (1917-2015)
96 - Michael Foot (1913-2010)
91 - Joel Barnett (1923-2014)
88 - Geoffrey Howe (1926-2015)
88 - Tony Benn (1925-2014)
88 - Ian Paisley (1926-2014)
87 - Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)
85 - Jeremy Thorpe (1929-2014)
84 - Cecil Parkinson (1931-2016)
84 - Alan Williams (1930-2014)
75 - Leon Brittan (1939-2015)
75 - Michael Meacher (1939-2015)

1 An interview with Denis Healey by the New Statesman in 2013.
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