18 October 2009

Noble noses in the trough

All the main political parties seem quite happy to have their nominees sitting and working in the House of Lords as if they represented someone and/or as if there's a rational basis for any of them to have a seat there at all. So it's a subject that I don't regard as a 'no-go area' for a 'non-aligned' blog.

Anyone interested can read a selection of my 'non-aligned' posts on the subject below. And anyone really interested is recommended to inspect the expenses claims of our 'nobility' for the year ended 31 March 2008 HERE.

I first got wind of the fact that there might be something dubious about Hose of Lords expenses claims a few years ago, when I heard of a special branch protection officer with reservations about the behaviour of a peer he was protecting - whose day would start by being driven to the House of Lords, signing in to claim his daily tax-free allowance and then being driven off again to do whatever else he'd got planned for the day.

Only one example, perhaps, but many more questions spring to mind from looking at the expenses list referred to above, and you may be as surprised as I was at how much is being claimed by so many for so few days of effort.

Some peers, like Lord Rees Mogg, appear to be claiming allowances for office expenses associated with doing paid work for someone else - e.g. how much of the £8,923 claimed for his 'office' in the year 2007-80 was actually subsidising him to write articles for The Times and Mail on Sunday?

As I've said before, I don't have the staff, resources or inclination to research the matter as closely as the Daily Telegraph investigated the expenses of our elected representatives.

But I do wish someone would do more of it, if only to remind people that the new improved House of Lords is as far removed from anything approximating democracy as it ever was - and perhaps even get the debate about it going again.

Other posts on the House of Lords include:

No comments: