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People's peers to combat Tony's cronies.

``People's Peers'' nominated by the public will take their seats in a new-style Second Chamber after the House of Lords is abolished, under proposals expected to be unveiled today.

The public will be able to suggest candidates to a seven-member Appointments Commission which is expected, initially, to approve about 20 nominations.

The plan is expected to be included in the White Paper on the future of the Lords which the government was unveiling today.

If the ``People's Peers'' idea proved popular, the process could be continued into the eventual, fully-reformed House.

It is seen as a bid to counteract claims that the new House will be packed with government appointees - ``Tony's cronies''.

Lords leader Baroness Jay today dismissed the criticism, and insisted that the personal patronage of the Prime Minister would actually be reduced by the reforms.

``The 500 life peers who will be left after the hereditaries go have been nominated by eight successive Prime Ministers, most of them Tories, since the 1948 Life Peerages Act.

``To suggest that the tiny minority who've been nominated by the present government are going to be a dominant `Tony's cronies' House is simply nonsense."

A Royal Commission will consider the composition of the final replacement chamber for the House of Lords.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jan 20, 1999
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