New research shows that 116 Peers have failed to speak once since the start of the 2014 Parliamentary Session
Last month we reported that over the course of the last parliament, £360,000 was claimed by Peers in years in which they failed to vote once.
Now, new research by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has shown that Peers who have failed to speak in the past year have claimed nearly £1.3m in allowances and expenses, raising further questions about the value for money represented by the upper chamber.
Peers are unpaid, but they are able to claim up to £300 a day in tax-free allowances for attendance, plus limited travel expenses.
The ERS research, taken from expenses and speaking records, shows that:
£1,262,670 has been claimed by Peers who have failed to speak in the past year
116 Peers in total have failed to speak once since the start of the 2014 parliamentary session
£772,719 was claimed in expenses and allowances by 30 Peers who failed to speak at all during the whole of the last parliament
£830,418 has been claimed by those who’ve failed to speak since the start of the 2014 parliamentary session
55 Peers who failed to speak in the last session voted fewer than five times, claiming £92,075
Eight Peers who neither spoke nor voted in the last parliamentary session (2014-2015) claimed £29,812
Katie Ghose, the chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said that the research was a damning indictment of the dysfunctional upper chamber, and showed the woeful lack of accountability for Peers:
“The fact that Peers can claim thousands without even speaking or voting in the House highlights the reality that there is no accountability for Peers – the public can’t kick them out if they fail to serve the interests of citizens.
According to The Mirror today, these voiceless Peers include:
Tory Lord MacLaurin Of Knebworth who last spoke in 2008 but claimed £56,958 between 2010 and 2015.
Labour Lord Leitch who last spoke in 2008 but claimed £34,650 over the last parliament.
Crossbencher Lord Powell of Bayswater who last spoke in 2008 but claimed £67,200 in five years.
At the end of August David Cameron announced 45 new peerages, including 11 Lib Dems, 26 Conservatives and eight Labour. The prime minister aims to produce a Conservative majority in the House of Lords, equivalent to the Commons majority. The ERS have pointed out that rebalancing the upper chamber in line with Commons would require 1545 new members.
Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward
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