A few weeks ago, the Electoral Reform Society released a report that highlighted around 15% of the members of the House of Lords have not spoken in debates for at least nine months.
The ERS report revealed that while these 115 members (out of around 800 members) did not contribute between June 2016 and April 2017, they still claimed an average of £11,091 each.
Amongst these members is former Labour MP Irene Adams – now known as Baroness Adams of Craigielea who hasn’t spoken in a debate since 8th December 2015! Since then up to April 2017 (which is the latest available information) Baroness Adams has claimed £43,050 in allowances and £20,198 in expenses despite not speaking once during this period!
Members of the House of Lords can claim up to £300 per day simply for turning up to Parliament yet they do not have to contribute to debates or even vote in them to get that allowance. The ERS report analysed 779 peers’ voting, speaking and expenses records between June 2016 and 27 April 2017. It concluded that £4,086,000 was claimed by 277 peers who spoke five times or fewer in the past year. The data also found £7,321,000 was claimed by 394 peers who spoke 10 times or fewer this past year, while 131 peers who spoke and voted 10 times or fewer claimed £658,000.
The most active 300 peers claimed just half the expenses, “showing the size of the Lords can be cut without significantly limiting its work”, according to the ERS.
Darren Hughes, the ERS chief executive, said the data appeared to show a growing “something for nothing” culture, he further stated:
“There are a worrying number of couch-potato peers and lobby-fodder lords at a time when there is plenty to scrutinise,” he said.
The public should be appalled that these unelected ‘lobby fodder Lords’ can claim £300 a day just for turning up – even if it is only for an hour. The place is now quickly becoming a national embarrassment ripe for abolition.
This isn’t the first time that Baroness Adams has been shown to do little for the money she claims off the state. These 115 silent Lords who haven’t said a word in the last year should be there first to be shown the door quickly followed by the rest of the cronies, donors, failed politicians and hangers on.
This is an issue that has been dragging on for decades with little or no reform under either Labour or the Tories. These findings make it time for the end of the peer show. It is time for it to go – once and for all.