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Wednesday, August 25, 1999 Published at 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK

UK Politics

I want to be a peer because...

Some peers are facing their first election

Hereditary peers hoping to keep their seats House of Lords will have just 75 words to justify their stay, according to reports.

Lords Reform
The move is an attempt to prevent peers preparing long-winded election addresses.

But Lord Mancroft, a Tory hereditary peer, has complained that the amount of space given to peers would result in nothing meaningful being said.

"The whole thing is ludicrous. What do I include - my inside leg measurement?" he said.

Lord Strathclyde: "The Government should wait for the Royal Commission report"
Under Prime Minister Tony Blair's plans to reform the Lords 92 hereditary peers will escape the chop when their colleagues are expelled from Parliament.

They will be selected after a vote conducted by their fellow lords and each of the parties can expect to keep 10% of their hereditaries.

[ image: Lord Strathclyde: Hoping to stay on]
Lord Strathclyde: Hoping to stay on
But the reported plans, said by newspapers to resemble a competition tie break, have already drawn fire from the Tories.

Their leader in the Lords, Lords Strathclyde, said they were a move by the government to "manipulate" the upper house.

He told the BBC: "It shows the whole absurdity of the position we find ourselves in."

He added that instead of holding elections for peers in October the government should wait until Lord Wakeham's Royal Commission on the reform of the House of Lords delivers its report at the end of the year.

But when asked Lord Strathclyde confessed he had not prepared his election address.

"I haven't given it a moments thought , but I suppose I should do so because I will be putting myself up for election."

He added that the announcement that Defence Secretary George Robertson is to become a peer showed that the prime minister was putting in "another of his cronies".

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