Lord's O' Leapin! Congratulations to Matt Ridley

Prominent Climate Skeptic Dr. Matt Ridley Elected To The House Of Lords

Viscount Ridley has been elected as a Conservative hereditary Peer in the recent by-election to fill the vacancy after Earl Ferrers’ death in November 2012.

Image: House of Lords 2013/Photography Roger Harris


Under the House of Lords Act 1999, the House of Lords elected 90 hereditary Peers to sit in the reformed House. When one of these hereditary Peers dies, a by-election is held: in this case, the vacancy occurred among the Conservative hereditary Peers, so the electors were those hereditary Peers belonging to the Conservative party.

All those on the Register of Hereditary Peers are eligible to stand in by-elections. The by-election must take place within three months of any vacancy occurring.


Matt Ridley has been a scientist, journalist and businessman. With BA and DPhil degrees from Oxford University, he worked for the Economist for nine years as science editor, Washington correspondent and American editor, before becoming a self-employed writer and businessman. He is the author of several books, which have sold over 900,000 copies, been translated into 30 languages, been short-listed for nine major literary prizes and won several awards. He is a member of the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council.

Thanks to GWPF for this announcement.

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February 6, 2013 4:13 pm

Magnificent! Congratulations, M’Lord.
That is the correct title now, isn’t it?

William H
February 6, 2013 4:18 pm

Anthony, that is not a hereditary position, it is actually a ‘life peerage’. Hereditary peers assume the title from family, e.g. on death of the father.

William H
February 6, 2013 4:21 pm

Oops , my mistake. Yup, he was already a hereditary peer, just now elected to sit in the House of Lords. My apologies.

February 6, 2013 4:25 pm

That is so cool. I didn’t realize he was uppa closs peerage. I thought he was just a writer, a very fine writer.
We now have a lord who is not afraid to call a a liar a liar.
Congratulations to Lord Ridley.

February 6, 2013 4:28 pm

Not sure why the link didn’t work. Here it is again:

February 6, 2013 4:28 pm

One step at a time…
Mega congrats to Lord Ridley!

Jeff Norman
February 6, 2013 4:30 pm

I am predisposed to thinking less of him now that I know he is of the gentry. I will attempt to not think less of him given his good works. Perhaps congratulations are in order.

Robin Kool
February 6, 2013 4:35 pm

Good news. I immensely enjoyed his book “The Rational Optimist”.
I believe he will be an excellent spokesman for science in general and Global Warming skepticism in particular in the House of Lords.

February 6, 2013 5:05 pm

With Prince Philip and Lord Ridley on the side of truth, who can be on the side of Satan?
Well, almost everyone in government and business.
Still, two real noblemen with official power can accomplish more than one.

February 6, 2013 5:06 pm

Congratulations to Viscount Ridley for achieving his birth-right by amassing the huge total of 14 votes! Lets hope he does a better job in the Lords than he did at the bank he inherited from his father.

February 6, 2013 5:07 pm

Excellent news. A strong voice where needed. Congratulations, Lord Ridley.

February 6, 2013 5:12 pm

Wow – now I know why I USED to really like “The Economist” because it USED to employ critical thinkers like Matt Ridley. I believe The Economist USED to be very influential in leadership circles.
Since 2000, Lynn Forester de Rothschild seems to have exerted editorial control over The Economist resulting in a change from balanced science coverage more towards the Global Warming alarmist views held by her immediate family.
Upon acquiring the Weather Channel Lynn stated, “As weather becomes more extreme around the planet, with greater human and financial ramifications, we believe that Weather Central will play a major role in mitigating damage and improving lives. This is important to the Rothschilds, as it is to Weather Central. We are proud of our new partnership with them.”
Lynn’s husbands son is David Mayer de Rothschild author of “The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook: 77 Essential Skills to Stop Climate Change—Or Live Through It.” So clearly at leas some of her family must worry about this.
I respect the owner’s right to an opinion and nobody is forced to buy The Economist – so the owner if free to editorialize or sensationalize as much as they want. Regretfully however, I no longer subscribe to this once great magazine and sadly there has been nothing that has risen to fill the void. Everything has a life cycle I guess. The Economist has had its day. It is a shallow thoughtless news magazine that would probably be best used as kindling for old age pensioners who can no longer afford to heat their homes due to green taxes.

peter laux
February 6, 2013 5:14 pm

Is this the Matt Ridley, author of the inspiring “Rational Optimist” ?

UK Sceptic
February 6, 2013 5:37 pm

Hopefully he’ll balance the damage done by the likes of Lord Deben, a rampant warmist with outrageous vested interests.

February 6, 2013 5:38 pm

I wonder how Christopher Monckton has reacted to the news. He is also a hereditary peer and has stood four times for election to the House of Lords and has never received a single vote. By contrast Viscount (Matt) Ridley led from the first round of voting.

February 6, 2013 5:42 pm

No, he always was Viscount Ridley who destroyed the bank he inherited from his father. I am sore he will advocate strongly for government bailouts and other support for banks.

February 6, 2013 5:51 pm

It is my opinion that the world would likely be better off with more scientists and engineers elected to office and fewer lawyers.

Lil Fella from OZ
February 6, 2013 5:51 pm

Truth will prevail. Truth will be the victor! What happens within the time frame to get there is a worry. I have just gone through Christopher Booker’s book, ‘The real Global Warming Disaster’ thoroughly. What amazes me is the amount of money which has been spent on this illusion! It is staggering. No wonder economies are struggling.

February 6, 2013 6:01 pm

On the flip side of the coin Donna puts the boot in on Suzuki

Lew Skannen
February 6, 2013 7:56 pm

Excellent news. Another voice that will be hard for the MSM to smother.

February 6, 2013 8:29 pm

@odoious.. keep with the adhoms, mate.. Its all you have !!

February 6, 2013 9:21 pm

Lordy Lordy Dear Lord.

John A
February 6, 2013 10:43 pm

I like Matt Ridley as a writer and essayist, but I cannot support his elevation to the House of Lords without so much as a vote by the people.
The House of Lords is a feudal anachronism that should be abolished in favour of an elected Senate. This has been promised several times and reneged upon several times by British politicians.

Gary Pate
February 6, 2013 10:44 pm

So who died?

Steve (Paris)
February 6, 2013 10:55 pm

Odo says:
February 6, 2013 at 5:42 pm
A little fact checking goes a long way
Formerly the Northern Rock Building Society, the bank was formed in 1997 when the society floated on the London Stock Exchange (with the ticker symbol NRK). Since 1 January 2010 when it was split into a ‘good’ and a ‘bad’ bank, the “Northern Rock” name has referred to two companies – this bank, Northern Rock, and a separate asset company, Northern Rock (Asset Management) plc.[3
Never a ‘family bank’. Yes it was ‘carpetbagged’, but not by some toff family.

February 6, 2013 11:00 pm

Great news.
Congratulations to Dr. Ridley.

February 7, 2013 12:11 am

I enjoy reading his blog.
A rational optimistic voice for truth.
Got to be good.
Congrats Lord Ridley.

Bertram Felden
February 7, 2013 1:01 am

I agree with every word of Jeremy’s (5:12pm) post. The subversion of the empirical values at The Economist was both precipitate and disasteruos; I too did not renew my subscription and have found no substitute.

Bertram Felden
February 7, 2013 1:02 am

Even disasterous. Fat fingers!

Filbert Cobb
February 7, 2013 1:24 am

It is curious that the Chairmanship of Northern Rock is missing from the thumbnail CV in the post – an omission analagous to that of the MWP and the LIA from some accounts of the climate record.

February 7, 2013 1:36 am

Just being pedantic, but the title of the thread grates a bit. It should be lords A-leaping (from The Twelve Days of Christmas carol). Otherwise, delighted.

February 7, 2013 1:38 am

From Viscount Ridley’s wikipedia page:
“I celebrate the way competition causes creative destruction that benefits the consumer against the interest of entrenched producers.”
Apart of course when the “creative destruction” involves the bank that one inherited from one’s daddy. In which case he’s all for taking £100billion in taxpayer’s money.
I guess it’s hard not to be optimistic when one has every orifice stuffed with silver spoons and the taxpayer digs you out of a £100,000,000,000 hole and you just destroyed daddy’s bank.

Martin Hall
February 7, 2013 1:50 am

I’ve known Matt since we were both teenagers, though we haven’t spoken for a number of years. He was always an inspiration – friendly, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, polite and yes, rational.
Gary Pate asks, “Who died?”. Two people did. First, Matt’s father did, last year; that meant that Matt inherited the title, though I’ve never seen a single mention of this by anyone, certainly not him – he isn’t made like that.
What has just happened is that Matt has successfully applied to sit in the House Of Lords. This would previously have been his automatic (‘hereditary’) right; but that right was withdrawn in 1999. The present arrangement is that of the 800-odd seats, 92 have been set aside for hereditary members of all parties and of none. When one of these 92 places becomes vacant, usually through death, his/her fellow hereditary peers of the same party (in Matt’s case, the Conservatives, of whom there are 49) appoint someone else to fill the place. That’s why the ‘electorate’ is so small.
As you can imagine, there is a great deal of competition for these seats, and it is a genuine achievement to be appointed. But I am not in the least surprised that he achieved it – he is a genuinely impressive man. His wife is equally so.
Oh, and it’s “Lords a-leaping”. It means ‘in the state of leaping’, as in ‘a-sleep’, ‘a-ware’, ‘a-loof’.

Nick de Cusa
February 7, 2013 1:53 am

@ Jeremy: exactly. It’s very sad. I was forced to cancel my subscription to The Economist too. To Lord Ridely : congratulations.

George Lawson
February 7, 2013 2:49 am

Lets us not overlook the fact that we now have at least two powerful AGW sceptic peers in The Lords. Lords Ridley and Lawson (no relation) who are joined by the powerful voice of Lord Monckton, who, although not in The Upper House, has strong connections with it. Let’s hope they can between them form a strong sceptic voice in the Lords to try to knock some sense into this otherwise deaf government

Vince Causey
February 7, 2013 4:52 am

A great surprise and excellent news. I didn’t know the House of Lords worked that way, but there ya’go.
Congratulations Lord Ridley – go get’em!

John B
February 7, 2013 5:01 am

Small point Mr Watts: it is the House of Lords, not House of Lord’s.
Meanwhile @odo. Northern Rock was originally a Building Society, a mutual owned by its members, so was not owned by anyone’s daddy, so it could not be bequeathed and so not inherited. Ridley joined the Board in 1994 two years after his father had left the Board, and his father was alive until 2012. You cannot, in any case, inherit from the living.

February 7, 2013 6:15 am

Congrat Ridley . You are a humble man. I never knew about your hoity, toity background.

Latimer Alder
February 7, 2013 8:23 am

You repeatedly reference Ridley’s ‘inheriting Daddy’s Bank’
Do you have anything to substantiate this claim?
I can find nor record that his father (also Matthew) had any connections with the Northern Rock at all. The roots of the Northern Rock were in the building society movement – a mutual society where the ownership lay with the depositors and loanees…not a board of directors and shareholders. It was only demutualised in 1997, and it seems unlikely that between 1997 and 2004 Ridley’s father managed to acquire a controlling interest. The Bank (as it then became) was large enough to be in the FTSE100 .It is rare indeed for an indivdual to be able to afford to buy over 50% of such a company..and rarer still for them to be able to do so unnoticed.
Finally I note that the elder Ridley only died last year (2012). It is difficult to imagine the precise circumstances where his son would be able to ‘inherit’ any such assets eight years before the death of his father.
In UK Law, inheritance usually comes after the death of the dear departed, not before.

February 7, 2013 8:58 am

Your headline and sub-title say

Prominent Climate Skeptic Dr. Matt Ridley Elected To The House Of Lords
Viscount Ridley has been elected as a Conservative hereditary Peer in the recent by-election to fill the vacancy after Earl Ferrers’ death in November 2012.

With respect, those statements are not correct and should say

Prominent Climate Skeptic Dr. Matt Ridley Elected To A Seat In The House Of Lords
Viscount Ridley has been elected as a Conservative hereditary Peer in the recent by-election to fill the vacant Seat after Earl Ferrers’ death in November 2012.

Viscount Ridley inherited Membership of the House of Lords together with his title upon the demise of his father. Thus, he had some privileges; e.g. to use the dining facilities of the House.
However, a Seat with voting rights in the House of Lords is no longer inherited with an inherited title. Instead, the right to be elected to fill a vacant Seat in the House is inherited. The existing Peers with an elected Seat vote to fill a vacancy from among those eligible.
I add my congratulations to those already provided to the newly elected Noble Lord.

February 7, 2013 9:36 am

My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Matt on the Reason cruise, a very nice and intelligent fellow. He and Ron Bailey gave an excellent seminar. Best of luck to him.

February 7, 2013 9:59 am

Odo — it’s a bit much to blame Matt Ridley for the worldwide subprime mortgage financial crisis, and Northern Rock not only still exists today, but paid back the liquidity it was forced to borrow. At most he can be blamed for failing to see the end of the housing bubble, much like almost everyone else.

Brian H
February 7, 2013 11:47 am

Edit: The quote is “Lords A-leaping”. “O’ Leaping” makes no kinda sense.

Brian H
February 7, 2013 11:49 am

talldave2 says:
February 7, 2013 at 9:59 am

At most he can be blamed for failing to see the end of the housing bubble, much like almost everyone else.

Yeah, pretty much by definition. Else there would have been no bubble!

February 7, 2013 1:38 pm

” now that I know he is of the gentry”: no, no, he is of the nobility, not the gentry.

February 7, 2013 2:08 pm

It’s amazing how much class envy there is in the UK, and how easy it is to spot UK residents’ comments not only from the overtly hostile content of some, but also by the grudgingly congratulatory remarks of others. How hard to be considered a “toff” first, and a man of intellect and courage after, if at all. And how sad some things never change in the Island.

Peter Hannan
February 8, 2013 1:05 am

Rats! Congratulations to Matt Ridley, of course, I think the House of Lords has an interesting, perhaps unique, and positive role to play in UK government (e.g. the resistance that the House of Lords put up to Margaret Thatcher’s abolition of the Greater London Council because she didn’t like its politics). But a Conservative Lord? Here am I, a lefty, convinced by the science that CAGW is wrong, and I can’t find any prominent person now who’s on the left and is anti-CAGW. It’s my problem, I guess; I’d assumed that Matt was liberal to leftish (I’m using British, not US terms). Well, being alone is nothing new, but still, just for interest, are there any other lefties in the WUWT community who are anti-CAGW?

February 8, 2013 3:55 am

Peter Hannan:
At February 8, 2013 at 1:05 am you ask

are there any other lefties in the WUWT community who are anti-CAGW?

Yes, me. I am a left-wing socialist of the old-fashioned British kind.
In the US the AGW-scare is supported or opposed on party political association, but that is not the case anywhere else. There are many notable ‘lefties’ who are opposed to the AGW-scare around the world; e.g. Jo Nova is active against the scare in the antipodes and runs an excellent blog.

Guy Lancaster
February 8, 2013 2:51 pm

does this explain what has become of the Economist?

February 9, 2013 3:04 am

congratulations to Matt Ridley but he is a GHG believer. Please, Sir, take a look at Joseph Postma’s posts on his web site:-

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