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Tuesday, March 30, 1999 Published at 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK

UK Politics

Ask Lord Sutch

Send your questions on any subject to Screaming Lord Sutch, leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party, by clicking here.

Loony he may be, but Screaming Lord Sutch can boast that many of his ideas have become law during his three decades in politics.

His latest success is the introduction of pet passports. When he proposed the notion, it sounded crazy - Lord Sutch opined that "pets need a break too".

But last week the government announced it was planning to adopt the wheeze, as an alternative to lengthy stays for pets in quarantine.

The Monster Raving Loonies also backed votes at 18, all-day Sunday pub opening and commercial radio before any other party.

A veteran campaigner, Lord Sutch has stood for election more times than anyone else in Britain.

His greatest success came at the Bootle by-election in 1990, when by achieving a high share of the poll than the Social Democrats, he signalled the end of Lord Owen's party.

Lord Sutch has also lost a huge sum of money in forfeited election deposits. In 1995, he narrowly escaped bankruptcy with debts of 194,000.

Undeterred, he plans to stand for the Scottish Parliament this year ("It's a loony kind of place," he has said) and as a candidate for London mayor in 2000.

The Raving Loonies - originally known as the Teenage Party, until they adopted the insult as their official title - got their first taste of electoral success in 1998. Then, deputy leader, Alan Hope, who runs the party HQ from the Golden Lion pub in Devon, became the mayor of Ashburston.

Having seen so many of its previous ideas nicked by mainstream parties, the Raving Loonies no longer bother to produce anything as orthodox as a manifesto - although they welcome ideas through their Website.

However, Lord Sutch's latest proposals include a Scottish Parliament on wheels, abolishing January and February to make winter shorter, and banning work before lunchtime "because it's far too difficult".

He has backed British beef throughout the mad cow disease crisis - "I've been eating it for years and look at me" - and suggests diverting the Channel tunnel to Jersey to make the whole of the United Kingdom an offshore tax haven.

Born David Sutch, he later added the Lord by deed poll. He has never sat in Parliament, but once turned up in an armoured personnel carrier at its gates.

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