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Thursday, November 11, 1999 Published at 11:41 GMT

World: Europe

Lords take final bow

It is an historic day for the British constitution today.

Many of the hereditary peers, whose ancestors have sat for up to seven hundred years in the unelected upper chamber of the British Parliament, are making their last appearance.

The final debate in the House of Lords will be on the bill reforming it; it removes all the Lords who've inherited their titles from their ancestors, except for ninety-two who'll remain for a transitional period.

The House of Lords consists also of the nominated members known as life peers, and a number of bishops of the Church of England.

The government has not yet made known its plans for the chamber's long-term future.

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