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Despite the removal of 650 hereditary peers as a result of the passing of the House of Lords Bill, the second chamber has managed to retain a relatively strong body of expertise in health matters.

The 92 hereditaries elected earlier this month by their colleagues to remain in the house include two members of the Conservative health team.

Most prominent is Earl Howe (Rugby school, Oxford University), the seventh in a line stretching back to 1821. A former junior minister under John Major, Freddie Howe has been Conservative health spokesman in the Lords since 1997.

'He's very switched on, very committed, ' says a colleague of the former Barclays Bank manager, whose popularity and high reputation among colleagues was reflected in his top-10 listing in the ballot.

Lord Clement-Jones, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman says: 'I think Freddie Howe is extremely good. His manner is mild, but he always hits the bullseye when it comes to asking questions in debate. He's just the sort of person people appreciate in the Lords - the acceptable face of hereditary peerdom.'

Earl Howe, 48, became a government whip in the Lords in 1991. He was a front-bench spokesman on employment and transport, environment and defence, and junior minister at the Ministry of Defence between 1995 and 1997.

Lord Astor of Hever (Eton, Life Guards), who is a Lords whip for the Conservative health team, also scored highly in the election. 'Johnny' Astor's maternal grandfather was the controversial First World War British army commander, Field Marshal Haig.

Also elected was Lord Colwyn (Cheltenham College, London University), a Wimpole Street dentist and passionate advocate of alternative therapies. The third Baron Colwyn is joint president of the parliamentary all-party group for alternative and complementary medicine.

The election of the hereditary rump saw 124 Conservatives competing for 42 places; 81 cross-benchers contesting 28 seats; 11 Liberal Democrats going for three seats and nine Labour hereditaries vying for just two places.

Remarkably, says Lord Clement-Jones, 'the ones that have contributed the most are generally the ones that have got elected'.

One possible exception is Lord Rowallan (Eton, Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester).

The fourth baron, who twice stood unsuccessfully for Parliament as a Conservative, failed to be elected, despite his expertise in mental health matters - he is on the board of Sane, and a patron of the charity Depression Alliance.

Former inner London GP Lord Rea (Dartington Hall school, Cambridge University, University College Hospital medical school) won one of Labour's two slots. The MSF union member was a Lords spokesman on health and international development between 1992 and 1997.

An expert in nutrition and public health, he failed to pick up a government job after the last election.

Whether this is despite, or because of, being former junior health minister and New Labour high flyer Baroness Hayman's GP is not clear.