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Terminally ill Frank Field cheered as he swears oath to King in Lords

A terminally ill peer was cheered as he made his first appearance in the House of Lords for almost two years.

Frank Field, 80, arrived in the chamber in a wheelchair and was pushed to the despatch box so he could pledge allegiance to the King.

The former minister, known as Lord Field of Birkenhead, waved to colleagues who then shouted “hear, hear” in support of him.

Lord Field, in an interview with the Observer last weekend, spoke of his determination to take the oath to the King – something all peers are obliged to do after the death of a monarch.

Speaking in the Lords, he said on Friday: “I, Baron Field of Birkenhead, do swear by almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King Charles, his heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.”

Crossbench peer and former Labour MP Lord Field last spoke in the Lords in March 2021, according to Hansard.

In October of the same year, Lord Field’s comments in support of relaxing assisted dying laws were read out in the chamber. He was unable to attend due to his illness.

Speaking to the Observer, Lord Field described his new book – a memoir entitled Politics, Poverty and Belief – as his “death mask”.

Lord Field told the newspaper: “I’m pretty tired. It’s a strange experience taking so long to die. But there we are.

“It’s affected my mouth, as you can see. It began about 10 years ago, when I was told I had prostate cancer. The hospital said, we must keep a watching brief on this. And they didn’t. It spread everywhere.”

Lord Field visited a hospice in 2021, adding: “I expected to be gone then, within weeks. And the doctors that spoke to me did as well. But life has gone on.”