MPs asked to consider whether to bar jailed Tory peer Archer from Lords

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MPs will today be asked to consider whether Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, the jailed Tory peer, should be allowed to take his seat in the House of Lords when he is released later this month.

Norman Lamb, a Liberal Democrat MP, wants the Government to consider the issue as a matter of urgency. He said yesterday that he was considering raising the topic in a House of Commons' motion.

Under current rules, MPs jailed for more than 12 months automatically forfeit their seats in the Commons, but there is no such sanction for peers. Mr Lamb said that it would be an "affront to democracy" if Archer took advantage of the loophole.

He said: "I shall talk to colleagues when I am back in Westminster about the possibility of an early-day motion on this issue ... if [Lord Archer] decides to return to his seat in the Lords then his case is going to highlight the issue in a very public way which could be embarrassing for Parliament. This has nothing to do with any personal views on Lord Archer.

"But there is nothing to stop Lord Archer returning to his seat in the Lords other than his own restraint. He may decide to keep a low profile. But somehow I doubt it."

Archer, 63, wasyesterday enjoying one of his final days of pre-arranged leave before being released on parole on 21 July. He drove Lady Archer through the gates of their home in Grantchester, near Cambridge, after leaving Hollesley Bay open prison at Woodbridge, Suffolk.He will have served half of his four-year sentence when he is released. He was jailed at the Old Bailey in London two years ago for perjury and perverting the course of justice.