A group of peers in the House of Lords claimed £1.3m in the year until March despite failing to make a single speech throughout the entire period, research has revealed.
Some 64 lords and ladies accrued £1,262,670 in expenses in 2014-15, of which 55 voted fewer than five times, accounting for £92,075 between them.
“While peers are unpaid, they are able to claim a £300 a day tax-free allowance for attendance plus expenses for limited travel cost,” said Jess Garland and Chris Terry of the Electoral Reform Society, which compiled the figures.
“Between February 2014 to January 2015, £21m was spent on Lords allowances and expenses, with the average peer receiving £25,826.”
Since the 2014-15 session started 116 of the roughly 780 peers failed to speak, and eight neither spoke nor voted, but still claimed £29,812 in expenses.
Further data from the society showed that 30 peers did not speak throughout the entirety of the 2010-15 parliament, costing the public £772,719.
“In the 2010-2015 parliament, £360,000 was claimed by 62 peers for years in which they did not vote once,” Garland and Terry added. “In the last session of parliament alone, over £100,000 was claimed by peers who did not vote at all.”
The damning figures come as prime minister David Cameron prepares to appoint an extra 45 peers, many of them former politicians from the Tories, Liberal Democrats or Labour.
It also comes after a Sun sting revealed Lord Coke (nee Sewel), snorting coke during an evening with hookers, raising questions about how other peers are spending our money.
A source close to Cameron allegedly told the Guardian that the prime minister was open to the idea of limiting the years a peer could sit, though since he wishes the Conservatives in the Lords to push this through, in effect asking the scroungers to limit their own handouts.
Further information on the Lords can be found in the Electoral Reform Society’s report.
Image Credit – Westminster Bridge, April 2015 by Mick C