Pressure is mounting for an overhaul of the House of Lords after the PM announced a wave of new ex-MPs, party loyalists and donors to the second chamber.
The 36 new appointees take the House of Lords over 800 members – at a likely cost to taxpayers £1.1m a year in expenses, according to ERS analysis of the average claim made by each peer.
Any claim to the Lords’ independence is being shattered, after the government over-rode a decision of peers to reduce their numbers to 600 through a ‘one in, two out’ system.
Peers can usually claim £323 a day tax-free – for the rest of their lives – for signing into the Lords.
The new appointments will make a mockery of supposed efforts in the chamber to keep numbers down.
It’s no wonder nearly 200,000 people have signed an ERS petition calling for the House of Lords to be scrapped and replaced. The petition which was started at the beginning of the year, has seen a surge in recent days.
Even the Lord Speaker Lord Fowler condemned the move over the weekend, saying that some of the new peers will be merely ‘passengers’.
Lord Fowler told the BBC’s Today Programme on Saturday: “I do think the Prime Minister has got to stop these kinds of mass appointments because I think the public are unimpressed with it…it is not necessary – we don’t need a House of Lords of 830.”
“It is ridiculous because it is far too many for the duties… What you are doing is encouraging some in the House of Lords who are quite frankly passengers and don’t make much effort in any event.”
This is a shocking batch of cronyistic appointments. Even the Lord Speaker recognises that this situation is untenable and has completely over-ridden even the Lords’ modest attempts at self-regulation.
At over 800 members, this bloated chamber is becoming a cruel joke on the public. If the Lords are to have any credibility, they must now put their apparent anger into action and propose legislation to finally introduce some accountability into the unelected house.
The anger is palpable. It’s time for Parliament to join the 21st century, with the fairly-elected second chamber that Britain deserves. This over-sized, expenses free-for-all must be overhauled at last.
The ERS want to see a far smaller, PR-elected Senate of the Nations and Regions to replace the Lords.
Sign our petition for an elected Lords