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Election days: 1880 - Squabbling peers

Updated Thursday, 11th May 2017
The Peers of Scotland gather to select their representatives for the new Parliament of 1880. It's not a smooth process.

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Holyrood House Holyrood House

During the run-up to the 2017 General Election, we're dipping into the archives to bring you a collection of events from elections past - noteworthy, amusing or just plain bemusing. You can catch up on the 2017 election in our dedicated hub.

The Peers of Scotland met in the Picture Gallery of Holyrood Palace yesterday, for the purpose of electing sixteen of their number of represent them in the House of Lords in the new Parliament.

A number of Peeresses were present, and there was a large attendance of the general public.

Lord Provost Boyd and the Magistrates of Edinburgh attended in their official robes.

The arrangements were under charge of the Bailie of Holyrood.


The roll of Peers was then called. When the name of the Earl of Crawfurd was called, the Earl of Sutherland protested against the title of any Earl being called before his own.

When the name of the Earl of Mar was called, the Earl of Mar and Kellie responded.

Mr Keir, advocate, then read a protest by the Marquis of Huntly against the Earl of Kellie voting as Earl of Mar, in respect that the title of Earl of Mar given by the House of Lords Committee of Privileges was a later title than that of the real earldom.

Similar protests were also given in by Mr Keir on behalf of the Earl of Erroll, the Earl of Galloway, the Earl of Stair, Viscount Arbuthnott, Lord Blantyre, the Earl of Morton, the Earl of Crawfurd, and the Hon. Waldegrave Leslie, as husband of the Countess of Rothes. Lord Napier also protested.

Lord Saltoun protested against the protests being received. The House of Lords had already ordered that the Earl of Kellie be admitted to the Earldom of Mar, and allowed all privileges connected with it. In that case the protest was not directed against the Earl of Mar, but against the authority of the Queen and the House of Lords. If Mr Goodeve Erskine could claim the Earldom of Mar let him make out his claim in the proper way.

Lord Balfour supported Lord Saltoun.

The Earl of Galloway said he could not enter into the merits of the question, but he intended that the case should again be discussed in the House of Lords.

- originally published by the Dundee Courier, 17-04-1880


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