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Former Prime Minister, John Major
"I think it is probably unlikely rather than likely"
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Sunday, 8 October, 2000, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Major to turn down peerage
House of Lords
John Major is keen for a break from politics
Former Prime Minister John Major has said he would not accept a peerage if one were to be offered.

The former Conservative Party leader is due to stand down from the House of Commons at the general election.

Ex-premiers have traditionally been granted peerages after leaving the Commons.

I think the answer would be 'No, I won't'

John Major
Mr Major told the BBC's Breakfast With Frost programme he wanted a complete break from politics after the next general election.

He is keen to concentrate on writing, business and voluntary work involving charities and sporting ventures.

He said: "I'm not at all sure that I wouldn't want a firebreak from politics.

"I don't think one ever says no for ever but I think it is probably unlikely rather than likely that I would accept an offer - were it to come - to go into the House of Lords immediately on leaving parliament.

"I think the answer would be 'No, I won't'."

But the former Tory leader said he would willingly bolster William Hague's general election campaign.

John Major and Baroness Thatcher
John Major's predeccessor took a peerage
He also said numerous individual Conservative candidates had asked him to visit their constituencies once campaigning gets under away.

Mr Major's predecessor, Margaret Thatcher, accepted the title of Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven after leaving the Commons in 1992.

Former Labour prime ministers Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan were ennobled after stepping down as MPs, in 1983 and 1987 respectively.

Their predecessor, Edward Heath, remains an MP but is expected to be elevated to the peerage on his retirement.

An exception to the rule was Harold Macmillan - the former Tory prime minister declined a peerage after his Commons retirement in 1964.

It was 20 years before he became Earl of Stockton.

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