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Tuesday, November 2, 1999 Published at 19:36 GMT

UK Politics

Snowdon leads Lords converts

The Earl of Snowdon: Staying on

Six long-serving hereditary peers are to be made life peers to enable them to remain in a reformed House of Lords, the prime minister has announced.

They include Viscount Cranborne, who was sacked as the Tory leader in the Lords after secretly negotiating a compromise deal with Labour behind the back of his party leader William Hague.

Lords Reform
Four more recently created hereditary peers - including Princess Margaret's ex-husband, the Earl of Snowdon - are also to become life peers so that they can stay on permanently in the Lords.

Only royal in the Lords

The Earl, a photographer who became a hereditary peer a year after he married the Queen's sister in 1960, is to become a baron.

He is the only one of the Royal Dukes who has chosen to remain in the Lords when several hundred hereditaries are ejected from the chamber later this year in the first phase of the government's reforms.

Prince Charles, his brother Andrew, the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent all declined an offer to keep their voting rights in the Lords.

In addition to Earl Snowdon the other newly-created hereditaries who will continue as life peers, are Lord Aldington, Lord Packenham (The Earl of Longford) and Lord Erroll.

The six long-standing hereditary peers to get life peerages are all former leaders of the House.

Apart from Viscount Cranborne, they are: Lord Belstead, Lord Carrington, Earl Jellicoe, Lord Shepherd and Lord Windlesham.

Viscount Cranborne was sacked as Conservative leader in the Lords after he secretly negotiated the deal under which 92 hereditaries will remain in an interim Lords, until the government completes the second phase of its reform of the chamber.

The names of the first 15 temporary survivors were announced on Friday.

Peers are voting again this week to choose a further 75. The remaining two will be selected by virtue of their ceremonial office.

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