Black out as Tory in Britain's House of Lords
Britain's Conservative Party has said Conrad Black will no longer be able to sit as a Tory in the House of Lords following his conviction in the U.S.on charges of fraud and obstruction of justice.
"In the light of this verdict the Conservative whip will be withdrawn from Lord Black," the party said in a statement.
Black renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2001 in order to accept a peerage to the British House of Lords after former prime minister Jean Chrétien opposed his nomination. Chrétien cited the 1919 Nickle Resolution, which ruled that foreign governments could not grant Canadianshonours that carry a title or privilege.
Black was inducted into the House of Lords as Lord Black of Crossharbour on Oct. 31, 2001. Although Black fought hard for the peerage, his attendance records are among the worst in the house. Of a possible 767 days since he was named a lord, Black has only appeared 19 times.
On Friday,Black was found guilty of three counts of mail fraud and one ofobstruction of justice, following a 15-week trial in a Chicago courtroom. Black was on trial for 13 chargesrelated to millions of dollars in non-compete paymentshe received from the sale of Hollinger newspapers in Canada and the U.S., money prosecutors said should have gone to shareholders.
Despite his conviction, Black is allowed to remain a lord.
He might be able to serve his American sentence in Britainif he exhausts all his appeals and the convictions hold.
Black has been trying to regain his Canadian citizenship. Citizenship and Immigration Canada declined to comment to the Canadian Press specifically on Black's application to resume his citizenship.
But department spokesperson Karen Shadd-Evelyn said that "in general, a person convicted of a serious crime is inadmissible to Canada."
That means Black won't get the opportunity to serve his sentence in Canada, where he would be eligible for parole earlier than in the U.S.
"It is kind of an irony that he would want to abandon citizenship for the (British) House of Lords and want to regain it for prison," immigration lawyer David Matas said.
U.S. legal experts have said that as a foreigner,Black is not eligible to be placed in an American minimum-security prison, sometimes dubbed "Club Fed" for their relaxed, college-dorm approach to incarceration.
He is more likely to be sent to a low-security facility, with a more controlled environment.
With files from the Canadian Press