UK Politics

Former chancellor Geoffrey Howe retires from House of Lords

Lord Howe Image copyright PA
Image caption Lord Howe was an active member of the House of Lords until just before the general election

Former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer Lord Howe has retired from the House of Lords after 23 years.

As Sir Geoffrey Howe, he also served as foreign secretary under Margaret Thatcher and played a key role in the chain of events which led to her being deposed as prime minister in 1990.

He is one of more than 20 peers to have retired under rules which were introduced in 2014.

The 88-year old last spoke in the Lords in February in a debate on defence.

Although many peers no longer take an active part in proceedings in the House of Lords, they have only been able to officially retire from their duties in the House since legislation was passed last year.

Lord Speaker Baroness D'Souza wrote to peers in February telling them she believed it was a "public duty" for them to retire "at the right time".

Other peers who have retired since then include former home secretary Lord Waddington, former environment secretary Lord Jenkin and former Conservative vice-chairman and pollster Lord Ashcroft.

Lord Howe was one of the most influential Conservative politicians of his generation, standing for the leadership of the party in 1975 before serving alongside Margaret Thatcher in government for more than ten years.

After quitting as deputy prime minister in 1990, he delivered a famous resignation speech in the Commons which attacked Mrs Thatcher's approach to Europe. Less than a month later, she resigned after facing a leadership challenge.

He became a life peer in 1992 after stepping down as an MP.

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