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Saturday, June 19, 1999 Published at 03:43 GMT 04:43 UK

UK Politics

Labour tops Tories as peers revealed

Tony Blair wants the new peers to be working peers

Labour now has more life peers in the House of Lords than the Conservatives.

It follows the government's announcement of 36 new peers in the Lords.

Lords Reform
They are drawn from the three main political parties and there are also three from Northern Ireland.

Prime Minister Tony Blair says the intention is that they should all be working peers.

A total of 22 new Labour peers are on the list, meaning the party is ahead of the Conservatives in numbers of life peers for the first time.

Labour still has disadvantage

Before the announcement of the new peers, there were 172 Conservative life peers, 157 Labour and 45 Liberal Democrats.

The BBC's Nicholas Jones: "For the first time in the House of Lords Labour will be ahead of the Conservatives"
Now Labour has 179, while the Conservatives, who get an extra four, have 176.

But the government will still be at a significant disadvantage numerically until the hereditary peers lose their voting rights later this year.

Among the new Labour peers, there a several local councillors, lawyers and three trade union leaders.

The House of Lords will also get its first ever Sikh, Tarsem King, a council leader in the West Midlands.

[ image: William Waldegrave gets one of the four new Conservative peerages]
William Waldegrave gets one of the four new Conservative peerages
A peerage also goes to the south London black community worker Ros Howells, who advised the parents of the murdered black teenager, Stephen Lawrence.

The BBC's Political Correspondent Nicholas Jones: "The new list puts Labour just ahead of the Conservatives"
The former Liberal Democrat MP Alex Carlile, is one of seven new peers representing his party.The party's campaign director Chris Rennard is also on the list.

Two of the four Conservative peerages go to former cabinet ministers, William Waldegrave and Sir Michael Forsyth.

Although the newspaper proprietor Conrad Black was approved as a new Conservative working peer, Canadians cannot accept honours from abroad and his peerage has had to be deferred to the autumn until a change in Canadian law has been approved.

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