Foster resigns his seat in Lords over 'non-dom' rules

Andy McSmith
Thursday 08 July 2010 00:00 BST

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Louise Thomas

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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.

Norman Foster, the architect who designed Wembley Stadium and the "Gherkin" tower in the City of London, has become the fifth member of the House of Lords to give up his seat to protect the "non-dom" status which limits the tax he has to pay in the UK.

The 75-year-old ex-peer owns an 18th-century château in Switzerland, between Lausanne and Geneva, where he houses a personal museum, including a collection of sailplane gliders and light aircraft.

But under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act, which took effect from midnight last night, he could no longer claim not to be domiciled in the UK for tax purposes if he still had a seat in the Lords. He resigned permanently in a letter sent to the Clerk of the Parliaments, Michael Pownall, on Tuesday evening. He loses the privileges of a member of the House of Lords, but can still call himself Lord Foster.

Lord Foster was awarded a peerage by the Labour government in 1999. Sitting as a crossbench peer, he was one of the less active members of the House: the last time he made a speech there was more than seven years ago. Last year, he did not speak or ask any written questions. Four other peers, three Conservatives and a crossbencher, have resigned their membership of the Lords to protect their non-dom status.

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