Russell in the Lords

  • Kirk Willis University of Georgia
Keywords: House of Lords, Britain,


Bertrand Russell sat in the House of Lords as the third Earl Russell from 1931 to 1970. In these nearly 40 years as a Labour peer, Russell proved to be a fitful attender and infrequent participant in the upper house—speaking only six times. This paper examines each of these interventions—studying not just the speeches themselves but also their genesis and impact within Parliament and without. Of all the controversial and important foreign and domestic issues faced by Parliament over these four decades, it was matters of peace and war which prompted Russell to take advantage of his hereditary position and, more importantly, of the national forum which the Lords' chamber provided him.