Sudbury peer resigns to read, reflect and write

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Lord Phillips of Sudbury is saying goodbye to the House of Lords today as he steps down from parliament after two stints in Westminster.

The Liberal Democrat peer, who first entered the House of Lords in 1998, is resigning at the age of 77 to focus on his family and enjoy a quieter life from his house in The Croft in Sudbury.

After developing a legal career with his firm Bates Wells and Braithwaite and unsuccessfully contesting five parliamentary elections, Lord Phillips accepted a peerage from Paddy Ashdown aged 56.

“It hasn’t changed as much as you think,” he said, talking about his time in the House. “By and large, it’s a very interesting place to be and it does good work.”

He said a combination of factors led to his resignation.

“I have obligations to my family that I want to fulfil and I want to step back off the treadmill as it’s grindingly hard work,” he said. “I want to read, reflect and write.”

Speaking from his office in London, where he spends five days a week, Lord Phillips said the Lords had always taken up the majority of his time over his legal work.

Today marks the second time he has stepped down from the House but, unlike his first resignation in 2006 when he hosted a big farewell party, this time will be a quieter affair.

He returned to the Lords in 2010 as David Cameron and Nick Clegg waved at the cameras for the start of the coalition government.

“In those days, you couldn’t resign irrevocably,” he said. “Although I didn’t intend to return, I couldn’t resist returning to have my sniff of power.”