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Tuesday 4th June 2013 | 14:14
North Warwickshire MP and former soldier Dan Byles has announced that he will be using his Private Members Bill to bring forward a simple House of Lords Reform Bill which, if it becomes law, will remove Peers who are convicted of a serious criminal offence from the House of Lords and introduce a retirement mechanism to help limit the size of the Upper House.
Dan Byles came fifth in the recent ballot for Private Members Bills, which means a Bill introduced by him has a reasonable chance of becoming law.
Dan Byles said:
"Contrary to appearance, this is not a knee-jerk reaction to the revelations from the weekend - although I believe those revelations give an added impetus to the need for reform. It was always my intention to bring forward this Bill.
"For the past fortnight I have been holding discreet and positive talks with Peers from all three main parties. I have also been in contact with my party leadership and have kept them fully informed. The reason for my cautious approach is that Lords Reform has been a difficult and controversial subject this Parliament. I was keen to ensure that I had the maximum possible cross party support, and that bringing this Bill forward should not be seen as a hostile or provocative act but rather an attempt to build a consensus on some modest and simple reforms that will improve the Upper House. I had hoped for a little more time to lay the groundwork, but the revelations of the weekend have brought this subject to the fore.
"My Bill will be closely modelled on those recently brought forward by Lord Steel and by Baroness Hayman. I believe this is separate to the debate about an elected House of Lords, and I hope that MPs and Peers from both sides of that particular debate will be able to unite behind this Bill, which does not preclude further reform in future Parliaments."