‘Couch potato peers’ criticised in blistering attack on Lords
CAMPAIGNERS have demanded reform of the Lords after revealing 33 “couch potato peers” who took part in less than a quarter of votes but claimed an average of £14,015 each in tax-free expenses last year.
The peers, who also failed to speak in the chamber, table a written question, or serve on a committee at all in the 2016/17 session, claimed an average of £746 per vote, the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) said.
They made up the total of 72 peers who were “inactive”, nearly one in 10 of the total 779.
ERS chief executive Darren Hughes claimed the Lords was being treated as a “retirement home”. He described as “crony-stuffed” as it hosts 184 ex-MPs, 26 ex-MEPs, 11 ex-MSPs, 8 ex-Welsh AMs, 6 ex-London AMs, 11 ex-MLAs and 39 current or ex-council leaders, as of April 2017.
He said: “Despite some minor reforms, the problems of Britain’s broken Upper House continue to fester. We have a democratic crisis in our second chamber.”
A House of Lords spokesman dismissed the ERS report as a “rehash of publicly available parliamentary data”.