Brian Angliss has a useful summary of Monckton’s attempt to intimidate John Abraham while Eli Rabett looks at Monckton’s correspondence with University of St. Thomas. The best bit is where Monckton professes to be unaware of any “disparaging”, “outrageous”, or “defamatory” comments he has made about the University of St. Thomas and Father Dease on Alex Jones despite calling the university a “half-assed Catholic Bible college” and Dease a “creep” on that show.
But I want to look at Monckton’s continuing claim to be member of the House of Lords. If you think that the House of Lords saying that he’s not a member would be the end of it, but Monckton is now saying that the House of Lords is lying:
“The House of Lords Act 1999 debarred all but 92 of the 650 Hereditary Peers, including my father, from sitting or voting, and purported to – but did not – remove membership of the Upper House. Letters Patent granting peerages, and consequently membership, are the personal gift of the Monarch. Only a specific law can annul a grant. The 1999 Act was a general law. The then Government, realizing this defect, took three maladroit steps: it wrote asking expelled Peers to return their Letters Patent (though that does not annul them); in 2009 it withdrew the passes admitting expelled Peers to the House (and implying they were members); and it told the enquiry clerks to deny they were members: but a written Parliamentary Answer by the Lord President of the Council admits that general legislation cannot annul Letters Patent, so I am The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (as my passport shows), a member of the Upper House but without the right to sit or vote, and I have never pretended otherwise.”
But look at what the parliamentary answer says:
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The effect of Letters Patent creating peerages can he changed by legislation which has that specific effect. It cannot be changed by legislation of general application. Thus, the Peerage Act 1963 allowed Peeresses in their own right to sit in the House of Lords regardless of the terms of any Letters Patent creating the peerage. The House of Lords Act 1999 removed the right of anyone to sit in the House by virtue of a hereditary peerage unless they were specifically excepted from the provisions. Conversely, the House of Lords decided in 1922 in the case of Viscountess Rhondda that the terms of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 were not sufficiently specific to allow her to take her seat in the Lords when her Letters Patent allowed her to inherit the peerage, but not the seat in the Lords. I am aware of only one case in which the effect of individual Letters Patent has been changed by Act of Parliament, which is that of the Duke of Marlborough in 1706.
The House of Lords Act 1999 is given as an example of specific legislation that did change the effect of Letters Patent! But perhaps Monckton is arguing that the Act specifically removed the right of hereditaries to sit in the House of Lords, but neglected to remove their right to be members. Trouble is, the House of Lords Act 1999 says:
No-one shall be a member of the House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage.
Of course, like Monckton, I am not a lawyer so let’s see what Carl Gardner, who is a lawyer says:
He [Ashley Mote] argues that Letters Patent creating peerages can’t be amended by general legislation – but his only basis for this argument appears to be a written answer from Baroness Ashton which he’s misconstruing. All she was saying was that Acts don’t have the effect of changing the legal effect of Letters Patent incidentally – it needs to be clear that Parliament does indeed intend to change their effect. She actually cited the House of Lords Act 1999 as an example of an Act plainly intended to change the membership of the House. In any case, Letters Patent are irrelevant anyway. The entitlement to sit in the Lords is not created by Letters Patent but by the Queen’s writ of summons; the only question is whether she has failed to summons anyone qualified to sit. But the House of Lords Act 1999 makes clear the old hereditaries are no longer qualified.
The original version of the argument Monckton is using is even nuttier, arguing that the 1999 Act didn’t really remove the right of herditaries to sit and therefore all subsequent legislation is invalid. The author suggests that they could fix the problem by repealing the 1999 Act without releasng that by his logic the repeal would also be invalid. Not surprisingly he’s a birther as well. Such are the sources Monckton relies on.
(Hat tip: John in comments for finding the comment from Gardner.)
Update: Anthony Watts censors responses to Monckton’s claim that he really is a member of the House of Lords.