28/08/2009

Peer-To-MP 'Cool Off' Period

Constitutional reform, which would allow life peers to resign, will be amended to ensure former lords cannot stands as MPs for five years.

According to reports, Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who is heading up Parliamentary changes, will introduce a "cooling off" period to ensure ex-lords cannot automatically contest a Commons seat.

It is believed the Constitutional Reform Bill amendment - detailed in today's Financial Times - is "possible but not definite".

There is currently no system allowing life peers to resign from the House of Lords or denounce their titles.

However, hereditary peers have been able to leave the Upper Chamber since 1963

Constitutional law also prohibits the holder of a life peerage entering the House of Commons as an MP.

There was wide speculation that moves to introduce an opt-out process for lords could pave the way for Labour peer and Business Secretary Peter Mandelson to reenter the Commons.

However, Lord Mandelson has insisted he has no intentions to stand as an MP, and has no aspirations to take over from Gordon Brown as party leader.

(PR/KMcA)

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