Since this month’s history section is focusing on the Metropolitan Police, it was tempting to write about what happened to some of its recent commissioners once they hung up their truncheons.

As it is, that would have been a rather short piece. Four of the last five – Sir Peter Imbert, Sir Paul Condon, Sir John Stevens and Sir Ian Blair – all went to the House of Lords, although whether Sir Paul Stephenson will one day join them there remains to be seen.

However, such automatic preferment is not necessarily the order of the day for the politicians whose job it is to oversee the boys in blue.

One such example is Sir Ivan Lawrence, who despite a distinguished career at the Bar and 23 years as MP for Burton, remains plain Sir Ivan to this day.

As a young QC, Sir Ivan defended some of the most notorious rogues in the history of British crime, including Ronald Kray, Dennis Nilsen and John McVicar.

In an interview with his local paper last year, he described Kray as a “polite respectful man” who came over during the contact they had as “a typical civil servant”.

First elected to the Commons in 1974, Lawrence’s claims to fame include making the longest backbench speech in parliamentary history, in which he spoke for four hours, 23 minutes on the subject of water fluoridisation.

He also introduced a Private Members’ Bill in 1991 that led eventually to the creation of the National Lottery.

Once seen as a rising star of the Tory right, Lawrence was disappointed not to receive ministerial promotion from Margaret Thatcher, whom he greatly admired.

He claims he was promised such a role by her successor John Major, but this never materialised and instead he chaired  the home affairs select committee from 1992 to 1997.

The loss of the seat to Labour's Janet Dean in 1997 came as something of a personal blow to Lawrence, but such was his standing in legal circles that he was never likely to be short of work.

At 73, he is still a working barrister at London's Inner Temple and 5 Pump Court Chambers, and last year published an autobiography, which was rather mischievously entitled My Life of Crime.

Although Sir Ivan Lawrence says he misses his time in the House of Commons, it is clear that he doesn't miss it too much.

“I miss not knowing from the inside what’s going on and not being there to give my two pennyworth,” he said last year.

“But when I go back and I see the policemen and the waiters who recognise me, they all say: ‘You wouldn’t like it here now.’

“The whole ethos has changed and there’s less opportunity for the free-thinking Member of Parliament to go his own way.”

Tags: Issue 40, National lottery, Sir Ivan Lawrence, Where are they now