Billionaire peer in storm over expenses
Lord claimed thousands of pounds despite contributing nothing in House
ACROSSBENCH peer from Beaconsfield claimed thousands in expenses despite making no spoken contributions in the House of Lords.
Billionaire steel magnate Lord Paul, whose family home is The Grange, a 250-acre estate off the A355 Amersham Road, Beaconsfield, claimed £40,800 for 136 days last year and voted four times.
Lord Paul, who is reportedly worth an estimated £2billion, told the Sunday Times his claims were “more than representative” of his work.
An investigation by the newspaper revealed that some peers are claiming thousands in attendance fees but make little contribution to debates, refuelling a call for Lords reform.
Peers get no salary but can claim £300 a day for being in the chamber or at a committee hearing.
They are not required to speak in debates or vote in order to claim the money.
There is no suggestion the peers broke any rules or the law in these latest claims.
Former Lords Speaker Baroness D’Souza revealed last month that a Lords investigation into “money-grabbing” peers was dropped to protect them from a media storm.
Baroness D’Souza also said she ditched the probe because she didn’t want to “name and shame” colleagues and feared negative press coverage.
Katie Ghose, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, told The Mirror: “It’s completely unacceptable that peers can claim thousands without even speaking or voting in the House, and it 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.
“Whilst many peers work hard and claim accordingly, we know that others claim their £300 but make minimal or no contribution.
“The government can no longer ignore this flagrant waste of public funds.
“Rather than spending thousands on peers who fail to even speak up in Parliament, we need a fairly-elected upper House.
“This is yet more evidence that we need root and branch reform – tinkering just doesn’t cut it.”
A House of Lords spokesman said: “Members are not paid a salary and can only claim attendance allowance for days they attend the house and undertake parliamentary work.
“Apart from travel costs, attendance allowance is the only financial support available to members from which they must cover any expenses associated with their work in parliament, including accommodation and any staff they employ.
“All members have to certify that they have undertaken parliamentary work on the day in question when claiming.
“Where members are shown to have claimed when they have not undertaken parliamentary work the House has the power to suspend or expel them.”
Lord Paul took to Twitter on Monday to express his views on expenses and shared a post from Telegraph columnist Charles Moore which stated: “The allowances set no such conditions of ‘work’: it is simply for attending, so no one is necessarily cheating.
“More importantly, has anyone tried to imagine how appalling the Lords would be if everyone present did speak?”
Lord Paul also tweeted urging people not to “downgrade British Parliament”.
It’s completely unacceptable that peers can claim thousands without even speaking or voting in the House