Former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling has retired from the House of Lords just five years after being appointed a life peer.
Sources close to the former Edinburgh Central MP said the move was a purely practical measure and that the former chancellor did not feel he could be fully involved in the business of the Lords by remote access or by commuting 400 miles from his Edinburgh home.
Meanwhile, Ruth Davidson, the former Scottish Tory leader, is likely to be confirmed for a peerage by Boris Johnson this week.
Davidson, who is standing down as an MSP for Edinburgh Central at the Holyrood election, is expected to be among those on the Prime Minister’s long-awaited honours list when it’s published this week.
Darling, 66, served as a Labour MP from 1987 to 2015 and was chancellor during the financial crisis of 2008. He went on to head the Better Together campaign which won the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.
Deputy Speaker Lord Lexden thanked him for a “much valued service to the House” at the start of proceedings in the chamber on Tuesday.
Tory former minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe said it was a “great sadness” to hear of Lord Darling’s retirement.
Darling’s retirement, announced before the Lords goes into parliamentary recess, comes amid moves to try to reduce the membership of the upper House which currently stands at nearly 800.
The list is expected to confirm peerages for cricket star Ian Botham, and former Chancellors Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond.
Clarke and Hammond were among 20 Tory rebels who voted to prevent a no-deal Brexit last year and both were expelled from the Conservative Party as a result of their actions.
Although it is normal for former chancellors to be elevated to the Lords the appointments along with Davidson, who stepped down as Scottish Tory leader over conflicts with Johnson over Brexit, are seen as an attempt to heal wounds in the Tory party.
But the focus may be on the expected decision to decision to block Jeremy Corbyn’s outgoing choices for peerages, meaning former Speaker John Bercow will not be honoured, nor former depute leader of the Labour party Tom Watson or Corbyn’s party boss Karie Murphy. Several high-profile Tory donors could also be blocked due to concerns raised by the House of Lords Appointments Commission.