‘Couch potato peers’ crit­i­cised in blis­ter­ing at­tack on Lords

The Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

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”.

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