House of Lords described as ‘a private members’ club’ amid increasing number of absent peers

House of Lords described as ‘a private members’ club’ amid increasing number of absent peers

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Darren Hughes, CEO of Electoral Reform Society has said the House of Lords feels like a “private members’ club”, after it was revealed that a number of peers have failed to attend the majority of days the Lords sit. 

Lord Sugar and former Olympian Lord Coe are among those peers criticised for attending fewer than one in five Lords sittings.

Mr Hughes told talkRADIO’s Mike Graham: “You have to question why people take this job on if they are never going to go.

“I think it is because they like using the title. Then, should the public be putting up with that?

“We need our lawmakers and if you have to live under the laws they decide on then you should vote on them and decide who they should be.

“It just feels like a private members’ club and it is not really in touch with the modern world.”

 

'Out of control' 

Lord Speaker Norman Fowler inside the House of Lords. 

Mr Hughes described the House of Lords as “out of control”, as Lord Speaker Norman Fowler called for the number of peers to be reduced from 800 to 600. 

“Because of the political appointments for life, bishops and the hereditary peers – of which there are still nearly 100 – you have now got 800 people who sit in there,” he said.

“You have now got 800 people who can claim up to £300 a day tax free regardless of what they do.

“The whole thing is out of control.”

Parliament allows peers to claim a £305 daily allowance for attending the chamber.

Mr Hughes added: “Should the family you are born in give you a seat in Parliament? I think most people would think that would be crazy.”

A spokesman for Lord Sugar said he attended the Lords “as frequently as his schedule permits” and that he did not claim expenses.

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