Lord of Parliament

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Coronet worn by Lords of Parliament.

A Lord of Parliament was the lowest rank of nobility automatically entitled to attend sessions of the pre-Union Parliament of Scotland. Post-Union, it is a member of the lowest rank of the Peerage of Scotland, ranking below a viscount. A Lord of Parliament is said to hold a Lordship of Parliament.

Scotland differs from the rest of the United Kingdom in that the lowest rank of its peerage is not the baron. In Scotland, the term "baron" refers to a feudal baron considered a minor baron of non-peerage however, equal to the continental baron. Therefore, the Scottish equivalent to the English baron is the Lord of Parliament.

A male holder of a Lordship is designated a "Lord of Parliament," while there is no similar designation for female holders. Lords of Parliament are referred to as Lord X, while female holders of Lordships of Parliament are known as Lady X (e.g. Flora Fraser, 21st Lady Saltoun). The wife of a Lord of Parliament is also Lady X. Children of Lords of Parliament and female holders of Lordships of Parliament are styled The Honourable [Forename] [Surname], except that the heir apparent is styled The Master of [peerage title]. Where succession by females is allowed an heiress presumptive may be styled The Mistress of [peerage title]. After the death of the father or mother, the child may continue to use the style.

The creation of Lordships of Parliament ceased when Scotland and England combined into Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707 and their parliaments were merged.

From 1707 to 1963 they were represented in the British House of Lords by only representative peers. From 1963 to 1999 they were all entitled to sit. The House of Lords Act 1999 removed the entitlement of hereditary peers, including Lords of Parliament, automatically to sit in the House of Lords. However, a number of hereditary peers do still sit following election by fellow peers. In 1999 two Lords of Parliament were elected: Lord Reay and the Lady Saltoun. Following the death of Lord Reay on 10 May 2013 only Lady Saltoun remains.

No provision was made for Lords of Parliament to be specially represented in the current Scottish Parliament, but the Scotland Act 1998 provides that a person is not disqualified from membership of the Parliament merely because he is a peer (whether of the United Kingdom, Great Britain, England or Scotland).[1]

Other uses[edit]

The term Lord/Lady of Parliament may also be used to refer to any member of the House of Lords. A prominent official example is in a Standing Order of the House of Lords: "Bishops to whom a writ of summons have been issued are not Peers but are Lords of Parliament." [2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Scotland Act 1998, section 16(1)
  2. ^ House of Lords Standing Orders, Order 2