21/10/2013 11:32 BST | Updated 21/10/2013 11:37 BST

Parliament Should Buy Aircraft Carrier For House Of Lords, Says Ex-Royal Navy Head

Helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious leaves Portsmouth to take part in a deployment codenamed Cougar '13 in the Mediterranean and the Gulf.

Parliament should buy the Royal Navy's last remaining aircraft carrier, park it up alongside the Palace of Westminster and fill it full of members of the House of Lords - the former head of the Royal Navy has suggested.

The Ministry of Defence has announced that it will sell HMS Illustrious to companies, charities or trusts as long as they promise to keep the ship in the United Kingdom.

Lord West, a former Labour security minister and First Sea Lord, suggested the ageing ship could be put to good use by housing some of the country's ageing politicians.

"I wonder if the Royal Navy could come to the nation's assistance again, you'll be aware the coalition are looking for buyers for HMS Illustrious, the third Invincible class carrier," he told Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi.

"I wonder if he House authorities would like to buy it to berth alongside the Palace of Westminster to accommodate the huge number of new peers being created?"

Since 2010 David Cameron has been appointed a large number of new Tory peers in order to overcome Labour's majority in the House of Lords.

The influx of new Lords has led to accusations that the prime minister is increasing, rather than decreasing, the cost of politics as well as putting a huge strain on parliament's resources.

HMS Ark Royal and HMS Invincible, the Navy's other two Invincible class carriers, built in the 1970s and 1980s, were auctioned off in 2011 and later sold for scrap.

Baroness Warsi, who was at the Despatch Box to answer questions about the treatment of gay people in Russia observed Lord West's question was "outside the remit" of that particular topic.