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Hereditary Peers Abolished in Britain

House of LordsAn historic constitutional reform which abolishes hereditary peers in Britain’s House of Lords was passed today.

The Lords voted 221-81 to end 800 years of hereditary titles.

With devolution in Wales and Scotland now established, Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair has presided over the most significant constitutional and parliamentary reform since the Great Reform Act of 1832.

The House of Lords has 1295 members, 759 of whom are hereditary. In a compromise with the government, 92 peers will remain until the government decides how to further reform the chamber.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Earl of Burford was “thrown out of the chamber for leaping onto a ceremonial cushion in a one-peer protest.”

Purple, even florid, prose came from the Conservative leader, Lord Strathclyde: “A long chapter is being closed tonight. The tale is now told, the past is done. The glass is shattered and it cannot be remade. The prime minister has taken a knife and scored a giant gash across the face of history.”

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