Bethell misses out on Lords seat
Tory lobbyist came second in the House of Lords hereditary peer by-election.
Westbourne Communications boss James Bethell has been narrowly defeated in his bid to become a lifetime member of the House of Lords.
The Tory-supporting lobbyist recently put his name forward to fill a vacancy among the 92 elected hereditary peers in a by-election triggered by the death of Lord Lyell.
Candidates had to be hereditary dukes, earls, marquesses, viscounts or barons and there were 27 in the running, including the grandson of Harold Macmillan and the great-grandson of David Lloyd George.
The result was announced today with Alastair Campbell – also known as Lord Colgrain – coming first with 143 votes. Bethell came second with 108 votes.
Campbell is the great grandson of Scottish banker Colin Campbell, who was president of the British Bankers' Association from 1938 to 1946 – rather than the former New Labour spin doctor.
Bethell is the son of the hereditory peer, historian and Tory MEP Baron Nicholas William Bethell.
The 27 contenders were asked to make the case for themselves in a series of short statements and potted biographies. Bethell's read: "As the founder of a successful company, I am in the position to hand over the reins and commit myself to supporting the Government in the House of Lords. If elected, I would bring my experience as an entrepreneur in the media industries, and in politics where I have worked for the US Senate, as a Conservative candidate and as a campaigner."
Bethell had previously stated that he will step down from his role at Westbourne if successful. "There are tough, clear-cut rules on outside interests in the Lords, which I support and, as a sitting peer, would wholeheartedly respect," he said.
All current members of the House who have taken the oath, 803 in total, were eligible to vote.