Britain's Monckton lordly about title

20th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

High-profile climate change sceptic Lord Monckton has reacted defiantly to a request from London to stop claiming to be a member of the House of Lords, telling the chamber to "get used to it".

The outspoken Monckton inherited his title after the passing of the House of Lords Act in 1999 which stripped hereditary peers from their automatic right to sit and vote in the chamber.

But Monckton claims the Act is flawed and unconstitutional and still refers to himself as a member of the upper house, though admittedly one "without the right to sit or vote".

Questioned on his membership in Australia on Tuesday, Monckton defended his credentials by brandishing his British passport which refers to the holder as "the right honourable Christopher Walter Viscount Monckton of Brenchley".

"The House of Lords says I am not a member of it. My passport says I am -- get used to it," Monckton told journalists in Canberra where he was taking part in a debate on climate change.

Clerk of the Parliaments David Beamish wrote to Monckton on July 15 asking him to cease claiming to be a member of the House of Lords, either directly or by implication.

"You are not and have never been a member of the House of Lords," the open letter published on the parliamentary website said.

"Your assertion that you are a member, but without the right to sit or vote, is a contradiction in terms."

While no one would deny Monckton was a hereditary peer, this was an entirely separate issue to membership of the House, the letter continued.

But Monckton brushed off questions in Canberra on the matter as "futile and drivelling", and called on the British parliament to publish his response on its website.

"They have not so far found the courage so far to answer," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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