ANOTHER hereditary peer has been given a ministerial role in Rishi Sunak’s government.

Jonathan William Berry was given a hereditary seat in the House of Lords as the “5th Viscount Camrose” last year following the retirement of Lord Rotherwick in February 2022.

Now, he has been appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology within a year of entering the House of Lords.

It follows the appointment of another hereditary peer, James Younger, “the Viscount Younger of Leckie”, to a ministerial role in the Department for Work and Pensions in January.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said the appointment of hereditary peers to the House of Lords was a "ludicrous hangover from feudal times". 

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He told The National: "Democracy demands that people can elect their rulers. Appointing another hereditary peer to government makes mockery of that most basic principle.

"The fact that Viscount Camrose sits in the upper house only after triumphing in a hereditary peer by-election, where a select few aristocrats are given the right by birth to decide who should make our laws and govern, is a democratic outrage in itself.

"It’s time to end this ludicrous hangover from feudal times and abolish the House of Lords, but with the Tories unwilling to do so and Labour kicking that can down the road, Scots need to grasp the full powers of independence to free themselves of the chamber and undemocratic Westminster rule once and for all.”

Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer said the move showed a "disdain for democracy". 

He said: "Hereditary peerages have no place in a democratic parliament, let alone in government.

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"The principle is extremely simple: we should not be ruled by people that we did not choose and have no way to remove.

"This appointment shows a disdain for democracy and continues the trend of Downing Street undermining basic democratic norms.

"The issue is far bigger than the choices of one Viscount that few will have heard of. It is the system that has allowed unelected peers to have so much influence for so long.

"With independence we can finally build a modern, fair and progressive democracy and ensure that we are no longer being ruled by the cronies, donors and yes men who fill up the House of Lords."

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Jonathan William Berry was given the title of Viscount following the death of his father Adrian Michael Berry in 2016. 

The Berry family owned The Daily Telegraph for nearly 60 years, with Adrian serving as its science correspondent between 1977-1997.

Currently, there are 92 hereditary peers in the House of Lords, 42 of which are Conservative.

When a Tory hereditary peer dies or resigns, the other Conservatives elect a successor from a list of eligible candidates with hereditary titles.

Berry was elected through this process in March 2022 following the retirement of Lord Rotherwick, who sat as a hereditary peer between 1997 and 2022.

A UK government spokesperson said:

"Lords Ministers are appointed so Parliamentarians in the Second Chamber can hold the UK Government to account.

"Such scrutiny supports a robust and healthy democracy.”