AS statues of slave traders and those connected with this wicked trade are torn down and councils re-evaluate them, I was struck that while these are inanimate objects, we have a generous contingent of living individuals who are members of a key part of our legislature and who have derived their prominence in part via the slave trade.

Within the House of Lords sits, 92 hereditary peers, their roles unearned and like their colleagues unelected by the public, but yet playing a key part in the legislative process.

Francis Baring, 6th Baron Northbrook (an opponent of Lords reform) is descended from Francis Baring, the anti-abolitionist and banker, who profited from slave-derived commodities. He dismissed as exaggerated the “physical sufferings of the negro”.

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The Conservative peer Douglas Hogg, Viscount Hailsham, descends from Charles McGarel, a merchant compensated £129,464 (which has been estimated at more than £100 million today) for 2489 slaves.

Another Tory peer, Lord Carrington, in the Lords since 2018, leads us to an earlier Baron Carrington, who received £4908 in compensation for the loss of 268 slaves.

Consider also the 14th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, a Conservative peer, whose slave-trading ancestor, the 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, owner of vast plantations in Virginia, reportedly enjoyed what he called “bedding down with a negro wench”. What we would now call rape.

If we regard some statues as indefensible, it seems odd to then have unelected individuals who derived vast fortunes off the back of slave labour not having their unearned positions questioned, and for them to still continue to influence the political agenda today.

Alex Orr