Buy HMS Illustrious for the House of Lords, jokes former First Sea Lord

Admiral Lord Alan West
Admiral Lord Alan West
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A former First Sea Lord sparked laughter in the House of Lords when he joked HMS Illustrious should be moored at Westminster to accommodate newly-appointed peers.

Admiral Lord Alan West suggested the Portsmouth-based warship could be used to house the ‘huge’ number of peers being created when it retires from service next year.

Lord West’s intervention came shortly after two new peers took their seats in the House after the announcement of 30 new members in August.

The former chief of naval staff said: ‘The coalition have been asking people to buy HMS Illustrious, the third Invincible-class carrier... and I wondered if the House authorities would like to buy it to berth alongside the Palace of Westminster to accommodate the huge number of new peers being created.’

It was announced last week HMS Illustrious could be broken down for scrap unless a buyer comes forward to preserve it as a tourist attraction.

The Portsmouth-based warship will retire next year and the government has launched a sale process aimed at keeping all or part of it for heritage purposes.

Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi said the request was ‘outside the remit’ of the question she was answering on Russia’s record on the human rights of gay people.