Saturday, December 16, 2017

Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is quitting the House of Lords because his workload means he cannot attend crucial votes on Brexit.

The Tory peer, known for musicals including the Phantom of the Opera and Cats, said the demands of being a member of the upper house were “very different” from when he joined in 1997.

The 69-year-old said he was facing the busiest work schedule of his career and it would be “impossible” to regularly take part in debates or votes on the process of leaving the European Union.

Lord Lloyd-Webber – whose official title includes a hyphen in his surname under House of Lords rules – said: “I have been privileged to be a member of the House for 20 years and resign with a heavy heart but in the knowledge that what is expected from a member today is very different from what it was when I joined the House in 1997.

“I have a work schedule stretching ahead of me that is the busiest of my career to date.

“This means it would be impossible for me to regularly vote or properly consider the vitally important issues that the House of Lords will face as a consequence of Brexit.

“I feel my place should be taken by someone who can devote the time to the House of Lords that the current situation dictates.

“I have enjoyed my time in the House of Lords immensely and I hope that my place can be taken by someone who can meet the demands and circumstances which the changing character of the House of Lords increasingly requires.”

The workload cited by Lord Lloyd-Webber includes three shows on New York’s Broadway and two in London’s West End, along with plans for a live television special of Jesus Christ Superstar and an autobiography to mark his 70th birthday in 2018.