Peers (Disqualification)

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 29th January 2008.

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Photo of Gordon Prentice Gordon Prentice Labour, Pendle 2:30 pm, 29th January 2008

If he will bring forward proposals to disqualify from membership of the House of Lords those peers who are not UK residents for tax purposes.

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Photo of Bridget Prentice Bridget Prentice Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice

The Government are developing proposals on disqualification criteria as part of their comprehensive package on Lords reform. A cross-party group is currently considering that and other matters, and its views will be reflected in a White Paper on Lords reform to be published in due course.

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Photo of Gordon Prentice Gordon Prentice Labour, Pendle

I hear what my friend says, but is it not an absolute disgrace and a scandal that people such as Lord Laidlaw, a Conservative peer and donor who is a tax exile in Monaco, are serving in this Parliament? For all I know, there may well be others. Is this not a matter of urgency? I appreciate what my friend said about the forthcoming White Paper on Lords reform, but the issue has to be tackled. People outside this place would be incredulous that people who do not pay our taxes are making our laws.

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I am a constituent of Gordon Prentice. Do’s not Lord Laidlaw employ a large number of people in this County and has he not put money in to education in the North East. I feel the people of Pendle have many other more important priories than Lord Laidlaw.

Submitted by Thomas Charles Beresford

Photo of Bridget Prentice Bridget Prentice Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice

I may not speak with the same passion as my hon. Friend on this subject, but I can tell him that the Government believe that Members of the House of Lords should pay tax in the United Kingdom. As I told him when he introduced his private Member's Bill on Friday, we are prepared to endorse the principles behind it. If amendments are tabled in Committee to deal with this matter, we will be more than prepared to consider them.

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