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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 March, 2004, 22:45 GMT
Disgraced Archer to keep title
Lord Archer
Lord Archer was jailed for perjury
Disgraced peer Lord Archer will keep his title because of the government's decision not to push ahead with its Lords reform plans, it has emerged.

Measures to strip peers convicted of a serious criminal offence of their titles were to be included in the House of Lords Reform Bill.

But the Bill, which would have also removed the last 92 hereditary peers, was dropped in the face of opposition.

The constitutional affairs department confirmed Archer would keep the title.

Future unclear

But it was "unclear" whether the provision to remove titles from convicted peers would reappear in any future reform of the Upper House, a department spokeswoman said.

"Unless and until we continue with a Bill, the status quo will be maintained. Where we go from here is unclear," she added.

The House of Lords Reform Bill was included in last November's Queen's Speech.

But last month, lord chancellor Lord Falconer said the government would not be pressing ahead with the bill after it became clear peers would continue to oppose it.

In it was a provision to remove the title from any peer who has served more than 12 months in prison.

Lord Archer with his wife, Mary
Lord Archer said he considered suicide while in prison

Crucially, Lord Falconer said it would apply retrospectively.

Lord Archer, who served two years of a four-year term for perjury, would have been the first peer to have been affected by the new law.

Announcing the move last September, Lord Falconer said: "Parliament is a privilege, not a possession.

"We therefore propose that in the future, such peers will forfeit their membership of the House exactly as they would if they were MPs."

Blair puts Lords reform on hold
19 Mar 04  |  Politics
Lord Archer jailed for lying
25 Jul 01  |  UK News
Archer faces ban from Lords
18 Sep 03  |  Politics

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