Earl from Norfolk to join House of Lords

The 8th Earl of Leicester, at the Holkham Estate.

Thomas Coke, Lord Leicester, has been elected to the House of Lords. - Credit: Holkham Estate

A Norfolk earl has been elected to the House of Lords. 

Thomas Coke, the Earl of Leicester, is to join the red benches along with two others - Lord Sandhurst and  Lord Altrincham - following the resumption of the aristocrat ballots to the upper chamber, which had been suspended since last March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lord Leicester, whose family seat is Holkham Hall, served in the army for six years and had a 28-year career developing sustainable businesses in Norfolk. He has also served on the boards of six charities.

General view of the House of Lords in London as the European Withdrawal Agreement Bill is debated.

Thomas Coke, Lord Leicester, has been elected to the House of Lords.  - Credit: PA

In his election pitch, the 55-year-old said: “I now have time to serve my country and apply this experience to the House of Lords, an institution which I believe is the most effective reforming chamber in the western world.”

A total of 36 votes were cast by Conservative hereditary peers in the exclusive electronic poll, conducted using the single transferable vote system and carried out by Civica Election Services, formerly Electoral Reform Services.

The by-election, in which 21 candidates contested the three available places, followed the retirement of both the Earl of Selbourne and Lord Denham and the non-attendance of Lord Selsdon.