Out go the 'Muhpets'

03.09.12: THE FORMER chancellor Gordon Brown, Richard Branson and veteran football pundit Gary Lineker are among the most prominent Members of the Upper House of Parliament (MUHPs) to resign after a prolonged battle with the government.

In the 10 years since the government was set up, a persistent complaint from MUHPs had been that their powers were inadequate.

"We weren't so much the people's peers as the people's poodles," said Lineker. Ministers complained that the Upper House had ideas above its station.

"We may have got rid of the ermine, but we didn't get rid of the attitudes," said the prime minister's press spokesman yesterday.

In the wake of the resignations, one of the surprise appointments to the Upper House is Lord Cranborne, doyen of the Tory hereditary peerage.

"I once described myself as an ill-behaved spaniel and I suppose I retired to Battersea Dogs' Home," he said. "I am glad to be back. At least I outlasted William Hague."

The new Upper House is made up of "people's peers", appointed by public acclamation, plus the elected members of the House.

During the Hague years, the Upper House was frequently criticised because of its in-built Labour majority. New members have already been dubbed "Byers's buddies" in the national press. DS