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Monday, 9 September, 2002, 06:25 GMT 07:25 UK
Archer may face Lords expulsion
Lord Archer
MPs are threatening to change the rules for peers
Lord Archer could be expelled from the House of Lords under proposed new rules.

The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, is expected to receive the recommendation as part of a report from an all-party committee of MPs and peers which he set up to consider reforms for the Upper House.

One proposal is that any peer sentenced to a prison term of more than 12 months should be automatically disqualified from membership of the House of Lords.

Best-selling novelist Lord Archer - who in July last year was sentenced to four years' imprisonment for perjury - would almost certainly be caught by this new rule if it were adopted.

It would put the House of Lords broadly in line with the House of Commons, where an MP convicted of a serious offence is automatically disqualified.

Retaining title

Some members of the committee believe that, even if Archer is released from prison before such a new rule came into force, he would still be on licence and technically still serving his sentence.

However, if Archer was removed from the House of Lords he would still retain his title.

He could be stripped of that only by a special Act of Parliament, since it was awarded under the 1958 Life Peers Act.

Parliament seems unlikely to want to go to those lengths.

Lord Archer has been writing prolifically during his sentence, which he is serving at North Sea Camp open prison in Boston, Lincolnshire.

See also:

09 Jan 02 | Politics
19 Aug 02 | England
13 Aug 02 | Entertainment

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