Major wants a 'fire-break' and would turn down a Lords role

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The former prime minister John Major wants to take a break from politics and will turn down a peerage if it is offered to him when he stands down at the next general election.

The former prime minister John Major wants to take a break from politics and will turn down a peerage if it is offered to him when he stands down at the next general election.

Mr Major told a television interviewer yesterday he wanted to spend his time writing, doing voluntary work for charities and sport, as well as taking on new business activities.

Since losing office in 1997 Mr Major has continued to sit as MP for Huntingdon but has spent an increasing amount of his time away from Westminster, acting instead as a director of the Mayflower automotive group and as adviser to two American corporations.

"I'm not at all sure that I wouldn't want a fire-break from politics," he told the BBC1 Breakfast With Frost programme.

"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 Mr Major said he would be happy to help the Tory leader, William Hague, with the next general election battle, adding that he had received requests from Tory candidates to visit their constituencies during the election campaign.

Mr Major's predecessor Margaret Thatcher accepted the title Baroness Thatcher shortly after leaving the Commons in 1992, while the Labour prime ministers Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan were ennobled immediately after stepping down as MPs in 1983 and 1987 respectively.

Harold Macmillan, another former Tory prime minister, declined a peerage on his retirement from the Commons in 1964 and waited 20 years before becoming the Earl of Stockton in 1984.

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