Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Who is the oldest Liberal Democrat peer?

When Lord Mackie of Benshie died last month, I asked who the oldest living former Liberal MPs are.

With some help from readers, I came up with this list:

  • James Davidson (b. 10 January 1927)
  • Elizabeth Shields (b. 27 February 1928)
  • Eric Avebury (b. 29 September 1928)

  • Then, the other day, Joshua Down emailed me:
    Your recent blog post about the oldest surviving Liberal MPs prompted me to think about the equivalent people in the House of Lords. As far as I know there isn't a single source of birth dates as there is for former MPs, which makes it a bit more challenging. 
    As it happens though, the Telegraph recorded that Lord Ezra, sometime chairman of the National Coal Board, was 96 yesterday, making him about five months older than Lord Mackie by my reckoning. He is still sitting, unlike Lord Hutchinson of Lullington, who's 99 but retired from the House some time ago. I have no idea who would be in third place on the list.
    I did however find that Lord Tanlaw, like Lord Mackie a member of the Scottish Liberals though subsequently a crossbencher, is the third most senior life peer by date of creation. He is also, exotically, descended from the last White Rajah of Sarawak!
    Can any other readers help to compile an authoritative list of the oldest Liberal Democrat peers?

    Top of both these lists, of course, should be Lord Bonkers.

    In his foreword to last year's Liberator songbook, he shared the secret of his longevity:
    I strongly recommend that you either bathe regularly in the spring of eternal life that bursts from the hillside above what used to be headquarters of the Association of Liberal Councillors in Hebden Bridge or get your hands on the cordial sold by the Elves of Rockingham Forest.

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