Hawking Peerages

Andrew Cook looks at the mysterious career of a man notorious for selling seats in the House of Lords.

It was almost inevitable that the recent Metropolitan Police investigation into cash-for-peerages would trigger renewed interest in the Lloyd George Honours scandal and especially on Lloyd George’s ‘honours broker’, Arthur Maundy Gregory (1877-1941), who actively sold peerages from 1918 and throughout the 1920s.

Commentators have rushed to draw parallels between the present controversy and the events of nine decades ago. The current chain of events began when Tony Blair nominated several Labour supporters to the House of Lords after they had made a total of £13.9 million in loans to the Labour Party. Following a complaint by Scottish Nationalist MP Angus MacNeil, Scotland Yard set about investigating whether or not the party hoped to convert the loans to gifts in exchange for peerages in contravention of the 1925 Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act and the 2000 Political Parties Election and Referendums Act.

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