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Scottish independence: Peers could remain in Lords

Lord Wallace suggested it would be a matter of being a taxpayer. Picture: Neil Hanna

Lord Wallace suggested it would be a matter of being a taxpayer. Picture: Neil Hanna

  • by ANGUS HOWARTH
 

LIBERAL Democrat peer Lord Wallace has suggested plans have been made to keep unelected Scottish peers in the House of Lords in an independent Scotland.

Mr Wallace, the deputy leader of the Lords, said it would be incorrect to assume Scottish peers would automatically lose their seats in the House if Scotland votes for independence next September.

He said that if peers who currently resided in Scotland chose to move to other parts of the UK, they could carry on working in the UK Parliament.

Mr Wallace said: “I happen to be a Scot who is a peer in the UK, so technically I would be able to retain my seat if [I was] a resident taxpayer.

“If I continue to keep my Orkney home, I would not be a resident taxpayer so would not be able to keep my seat.

“My home is in Scotland. I have no intention of moving. I’m confident a year from now 
I will still be living in the UK.”

But SNP MP Angus MacNeil said the idea of allowing unelected Scottish peers into the House of Lords should Scotland vote Yes in the referendum was “ridiculous”.

He said: “If the rest of the UK wants to keep funding the unelected House of Lords, that is a matter for them. A Yes vote means that people in Scotland can get rid of the expensive and unrepresentative Westminster tier.

“The UK government failed to take the opportunity to give their plans for Scotland after a Yes or No vote, as set out by the Electoral Commission.

“The Ministry of Defence won’t even look at alternative plans for Trident, yet there are plans to keep Scottish peers in the House of Lords.”

He claimed Lord Wallace’s remarks “spoke volumes about Westminster priorities”.

 

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