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Conrad Black, who fought with Chrétien over the British peerage, was expelled from the British House of Lords

Conrad Black, who fought with Chrétien over the British peerage, was expelled from the British House of Lords
Conrad Black, who fought with Chrétien over the British peerage, was expelled from the British House of Lords

Former media magnate Conrad Black, who sued then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in his battle for a British peerage, has been expelled from the House of Lords over his inaction at meetings.

Speaker of the House of Lords Lord John McFall announced on Wednesday that a number of lords will no longer be members of the House “for reasons of absence”, including Montreal-born Black, who was known as Lord Black of Crossharbour. The move will take effect from July 9.

Black, who the National Post newspaper, did everything he could to secure that seat – he fought the prime minister for two years and ultimately renounced his Canadian citizenship for twenty years.

The House of Lords is part of the British Parliament. Like Canadian senators, its members are appointed, not elected, to scrutinize legislation. Most lords (also known as peers) are appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister, although some inherit their titles.

In 1999, then British Prime Minister Tony Blair offered Black, a dual Canadian and British citizen, a peerage title for a seat in the United Kingdom’s Upper House.

Chrétien referred to a 1919 resolution that disapproved of the granting of such titles to Canadians. He objected and moved to block the appointment.

WATCH | Conrad Black files lawsuit over Canada’s denial of British title

Conrad Black files lawsuit over Canada’s denial of British title

The owner of the Canadian newspaper was on the verge of being appointed to the House of Lords, until the Chrétien government put a stop to it.

Black accused Chrétien of advising the Queen not to grant him a peerage, and filed a lawsuit arguing that the prime minister acted vindictively because he was irritated by the Post’s criticism of the Liberals at the time.

After two courts rejected his request to sue Chrétien for abuse of power, Black renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2001 and accepted the title of noble.

The media tycoon later said he regretted his decision.

“I was so enraged by the viciousness of Jean Chrétien that the only way I could frustrate him in his success… by opposing my becoming a peer while remaining a Canadian citizen was to do what I did,” Black told the National Post last year.

In the same interview, Black, who was convicted in the US in 2007 of fraud and obstruction of justice and later pardoned by then-US President Donald Trump, said his Canadian citizenship had been restored.

He then said he planned to return as a sitting member of the House of Lords.

“I have been an inactive member but I have been invited to return as an active member of the Conservative Parliament and that is certainly my intention,” he told the newspaper.

“I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but I’m going to do it. I’m going to revive my career as a legislator.”

When reached Wednesday, Black said he was unaware his membership had been terminated. He told CBC News he didn’t really care, but was surprised he wasn’t notified first.

Newly elected British Prime Minister Keir Starmer has promised to reform the chamber, saying “too many members of the House of Lords are not playing their proper role in our democracy.”