PEERS have rejected Michael Gove’s suggestion that they should consider moving the House of Lords to Scotland as “another freelance exercise by an intellectual flibbertigibbet”.

The archane putdown, which means a person who “talks a lot about silly things”, came after the Levelling Up Secretary wrote to the Lord Speaker with alternative temporary locations for the upper chamber as it undergoes refurbishment – including locations in Scotland, Wales and northern England.

There was also apparently less than fulsome support for the Cabinet minister by his frontbench colleague in the Lords, Lord True, who told peers that Gove was “always inventive” and made clear any future decamp was a matter for Parliament.

Meanwhile, the Communities Secretary has doubled down and insisted he would “wholeheartedly welcome” the relocation of the Lords, before again naming Stoke as a contender.

It is not the first time ministers have suggested moving the unelected chamber, where the Government does not have a majority, with York previously mentioned as a possible home during the multibillion-pound renovation of the crumbling Palace of Westminster.

The National: Palace of Westminster and Elizabeth Tower – stock

The latest speculation came after Gove wrote to Lord McFall of Alcluith and was quoted as saying that having “carefully reviewed the proposed arrangements”, he “will not support the use of the QEII Centre as an alternative location”.

The Queen Elizabeth II Centre conference and exhibition space, which is just a few minutes’ walk from the Palace of Westminster in London, is an executive agency that comes under Gove’s department.

Raising an urgent question in Parliament, Tory former Cabinet minister Lord Forsyth of Drumlean pressed for the publication of Gove’s analysis on “how he thought this would enable Parliament to function if one House was sent to Stoke or somewhere else”.

Pressing the minister, Lord Forsyth said: “Would he just remind the Secretary of State… that the matter for the location of this House is a matter for this House and not for the executive.”

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Lord True said: “The secretary of state is always inventive. These are matters for Parliament.”

He also pointed out he had been in York last week on a ministerial visit and “did not look at any alternative site”.

Questioning on whose authority Gove had contacted the Lord Speaker, Tory peer Lord Cormack said: “Was he speaking for the Government and if so does he not realise this is not a matter for the Government or was this just another freelance exercise by an intellectual flibbertigibbet?”

Amid laughter, True replied: “I couldn’t possibly comment on that.”

He pointed out the QEII Centre fell under the responsibility of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

“No doubt he was addressing the matter from that perspective,” said Lord True.

Independent crossbencher and leading lawyer Lord Carlile of Berriew, who declared an interest as having been brought up in Burnley, said: “We are one Parliament, not two, and therefore dividing the two Houses would be a very adverse and unconstitutional act.

“Therefore, if he [Gove] wants Parliament to be in Burnley it should be both Houses and not one.”

But former Labour minister and non-affiliated peer Lord Austin of Dudley said: “Congestion in London is a nightmare, property prices are ridiculous, meanwhile the rest of the country has struggled to attract new investment and new jobs to replace the industries they have lost.

“I think there is a case for looking at whether Parliament’s deliberations could take place outside of London and for moving large parts of government to the regions as well, so I certainly don’t think these ideas should be dismissed out of hand.”

Speaking in the Commons, Gove highlighted how civil servants have been relocated to different parts of the UK and told MPs: “Over the weekend there was speculation in some newspapers that that estimable effort by civil servants should be joined by members of the Lords.

“Can I say that I would wholeheartedly welcome the relocation of the House of Lords to one of our great cities, and in particular the attractions of the six towns that constitute Stoke-on-Trent – as I saw last week – are formidable.

“And if the House of Lords were to relocate to Stoke-on-Trent, I think you could be assured of a warm welcome in one of the most attractive places in England.”