Peer of the Week - Lord Dannatt
Author: Jon Narcross
Published on Oct 17, 2012
Our Peer of the Week series aims to shed some light on the members of the House of Lords who contribute to making laws in the UK. Each week, we’ll look at the chosen Peer’s background, voting and attendance records as well as any controversy associated with their actions, and question whether these really are the best people to be involved in the legislative process.
Who he is:
- General Francis Richard Dannatt, Baron Dannatt, GCB, CBE, MC, DL is a retired British Army officer and the incumbent Constable of the Tower of London.
- A life long soldier he served in Northern Ireland and the Kosovo War, during the latter of which he was awarded a CBE for his services to the military.
- Following his military career he was nominated for a life peerage by David Cameron while Cameron was Leader of the Opposition.
- Although nominated for a political peerage on the Conservative Party benches, he opted to sit as a crossbencher and was ennobled in November 2010
- In 2006 Dannatt was appointed Chief of the General Staff (CGS)—the professional head of the British Army.
- After his retirement in 2009, Dannatt became an informal defence adviser to David Cameron and the Conservative Shadow Cabinet but stood down following the 2010 General Election.
Attendance and voting records:
- Lord Dannatt has spoken only 9 times in the last year in debates in the house
- He has only voted in 23.79% of possible votes since taking his seat in 2010
- Dannatt faced controversy over his outspokenness, in particular his calls for improved pay and conditions for soldiers and for a drawdown of operations in Iraq in order to better man those in Afghanistan. He also set about trying to increase his public profile, worried that he was not recognisable enough at a time when he had to defend the Army's reputation against alleged prisoner abuse in Iraq
- Dannatt’s decision to take up a political role advising the then shadow cabinet on defence in 2009 (just months after his retirement) attracted controversy as former officers usually remain politically neutral
- In October 2012 Dannatt, along with a number of other high profile former military leaders, was named in a military lobbying scandal by claims he offered to help two executives from a South Korean defence company who wanted to sell the UK military a hi-tech drone