Former Sleaford MP Douglas Hogg tipped for the Lords

Douglas Hogg, the third Viscount Hailsham, could get a seat in the House of Lords.
Douglas Hogg, the third Viscount Hailsham, could get a seat in the House of Lords.

The former Tory MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, Douglas Hogg could be set for a return to Parliament.

Mr Hogg, who was MP for the area from 1979 until 2010, inherited the title of Viscount Hailsham on the death of his father in 2001, but did not choose to remain in the Commons until his retirement as MP at the last general election.

He was succeeded by Stephen Phillips as MP in 2010.

Prior to the Labour government’s House of Lords Act in 1999 he would have had to resign from the Commons in order to take up his seat in the Lords on his father’s death, but after excluding most hereditary peers from the House, Mr Hogg no longer had to.

Under the same act 92 hereditary peers were saved and the same number have been entitled to remain ever since, meaning that there are still 47 Tory hereditary peers in the Lords. When one party-political hereditary peer dies, a by-election takes place to replace him with another peer.

Mr Hogg, now Viscount Hailsham, is on the register of hereditary peers entitled to stand in such a by-election and he appears to be a front runner candidate in the contest to replace the Earl of Onslow, who died last month.

David Cameron has recommended that he get a life peerage, against the recommendation of the House of Lords Appointment Commission. If successful in the by-election to take place next month, the former Agriculture Minister’s return to Parliament will be controversial after he became one of the most high profile targets for criticism when becoming embroiled in the MPs expenses scandal.

It was alleged he had claimed for the cost of cleaning his moat at his second home at Kettlethorpe Hall near Gainsborough. Mr Hogg agreed to repay the £2,200 cost of clearing the moat, after an order from the party leadership. He maintained he had not claimed the money but agreed it had not been “positively excluded” from paperwork submitted to the Commons fees office.

His wife, Sarah, who was head of John Major’s policy unit, already sits in the Lords as Baroness Hogg.