by RAY FLEMING “ARCHER and Black to be ousted from Lords” said the Sunday Times. “Archer and Black could escape Lords ban” said the Independen yesterday. Who knows? Retrospective justice is never a good idea and by far the better solution for these two offenders would be to suggest to them very persuasively that they should forthwith refrain from using the title “Lord.” In any circumstances. Jack Straw, the Justice minister, is said to be drawing up new legislation to provide powers to expel any peer sentenced to more than one year in prison; the punishment could also be applied to “grossly improper conduct” not involving a criminal offence. These measures will be part of a Constitutional Renewal Bill to be introduced this spring. The Justice department took the opportunity of the current interest in its activities to announce that the long-promised reforms in the make-up of the House of Lords will be shelved until after the next general election which must be held by May 2010. Surprise, surprise! The reform of the Upper House of Parliament has been on the political agenda for almost a century now but it always seems to be shelved for one reason or another. Perhaps the current revelations about just how open to abuse the present method of appointing peers has become will at last persuade the next government to take reform seriously and see it acted on as soon as possible.