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Last Updated: Friday, 29 October, 2004, 23:08 GMT 00:08 UK
Kinnock and Patten get peerages
Chris Patten
Chris Patten says he is looking forward to be a Tory peer
Ex-Labour leader Neil Kinnock and former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten are to be made life peers.

Both politicians will take their seats once the new EU Commission is in place, currently delayed following a row over Italian candidate Rocco Buttiglione.

The two outgoing European Commissioners are being replaced by one British representative, Peter Mandelson.

Mr Kinnock said he saw his place in the Lords as a base from which to campaign on national and international issues.

'A good base'

He said: "I accepted the kind invitation to enter the House of Lords as a working peer for practical political reasons.

It will give me the opportunity... to contribute to the national debate on issues like higher education, research, Europe and foreign policy
Chris Patten

"It is a good base for campaigning on national issues like education, sustainable transport, industrial change and the ageing society and global concerns, particularly poverty and oppression."

As a Labour peer, he would also be able to put "the continuing case for our country's effective engagement in the EU," he said.

The Lords would also provide "excellent opportunities to promote understanding of the work and value of the British Council."

Lost seat

He added: "Naturally, I will not take my seat or engage in any other activities of the House of Lords until my term of office in the European Commission has ended."

Neil Kinnock

Mr Patten said he was "honoured" to be made a life peer.

"It will give me the opportunity as a Conservative peer to contribute to the national debate on issues like higher education, research, Europe and foreign policy," he said.

Mr Kinnock resigned the Labour leadership after losing the 1992 election to a narrow Tory victory which Mr Patten is credited with delivering.

Mr Patten was then Conservative chairman - and lost his Bath seat in the same poll.

The then Tory premier John Major subsequently made him the last British governor of Hong Kong.

What Kinnock and Patten plan to do

Profile: Chris Patten
29 Oct 04  |  Politics
Profile: Neil Kinnock
29 Oct 04  |  Politics
Kinnock to head British Council
20 Feb 04  |  Politics

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