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Commonwealth Governments (Peers)

Volume 721: debated on Thursday 25 November 1965

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Q5.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will introduce legislation to remove the privileges of peerage, including the right to sit in the upper House, from any peer who acts as a Member of a Commonwealth Government not recognised by Her Majesty.

I do not think this would be appropriate, at any rate at this stage.

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that it is intolerable that a rebel against the Crown could take his seat in the House of Lords next week? Can my right hon. Friend say whether a sentence of impeachment by the Lords sitting as a court of justice could deal with the problem or whether a Bill of Attainder would deal with it? In any case, does he recognise that I am all in favour of reducing the House of Lords by any means at my disposal?

I note my hon. Friend's suggestions, but one should not use a steam hammer to crack a nut—not this particular nut, anyway. If the noble Lord—or Duke, I think he is, though he does not call himself one in Rhodesia—were to seek to take his seat in another place, I have no doubt that the Members of another place would know what to do with him. Those of us who have had the chance of observing this member of the illegal Rhodesian régime at close quarters will not treat him with such seriousness as my hon. Friend does.