New Act forces architect to quits Lords

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Lord Foster has pointed out that he is not a nom-domiciled UK resident and has never sought "non-dom" status, his letter setting out his position is here.

Architect Lord Foster of Thames Bank has given up his seat in the House of Lords in order to hold on to his non-domiciled tax status, it was revealed today.

He was the fifth peer to quit the Upper House ahead of a deadline of midnight tonight after which members will have to become fully UK-resident for tax purposes.

The move follows a new requirement in this year's Constitutional Reform and Governance Act for peers to pay tax on their worldwide earnings.

A three-month period during which they could instead permanently exclude themselves from the Lords expires today.

Norman Foster was raised to the peerage in 1999 and sat as a crossbencher. He retains his title, but will no longer be able to attend the Lords or vote on legislation.

It was revealed yesterday that Conservative peers Lord Bagri, Lord McAlpine and Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay had joined cross-bencher Baroness Dunn in informing the Lords authorities that they were leaving the House.

There have been long-running controversies surrounding some wealthy peers who sit in the House of Lords but are non-domiciled for tax purposes.

Conservative Party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft announced earlier this year that he was giving up his non-dom status.

His admission that he was a non-dom came after years of refusing to say whether he paid tax on his overseas earnings.

A House of Lords spokeswoman said Lord Foster - best-known for buildings like the new Wembley Stadium and the City of London's "Gherkin" tower - wrote yesterday evening to Clerk of the Parliaments Michael Pownall to give up his membership.