The SNP have revealed that peers from Scotland have claimed over £2 million of public money – £2,026,076 – in the last year. The SNP, which published the figures today, questioned what the public had got for their money.
Angus MacNeil, the SNP MP who sparked the cash for peerages investigation said it was time the “unelected retirement home came to an end”. The SNP does not take seats in the House of Lords.
According to today’s revelations some 61 peers from Scotland received a total of £2 million last year, all tax free. Former Labour MP Irene Adams, who did not speak in the Lords last year, is the second most expensive peer in the UK. Lady Adams is still being pursued for £4,100 in MP expenses by the Commons authorities which she refuses to repay.
The figures also show the cost of paying for the Lords and Ladies of Scotland has doubled in almost ten years despite the number of peers increasing by only a handful; with some peers rarely participating in Lords business but still claiming thousands of pounds in expenses.
Disgraced peer Mike Watson, who was jailed for wilful fire-raising and legally forced to stand down as an MSP BUT not a peer, has claimed £38,078 of taxpayers’ money. Last year he spoke in just four debates.
The figures do not include the newest Scottish peers created since the General Election including Lord Jack McConnell, Lord Tommy McAvoy, Lord John McFall, Lord John Reid or Nicol Stephen MSP.
Commenting Mr MacNeil said:
“As everyone sees budgets tightening and feels the impact of London’s spending squeeze it seems Lords – particularly Labour’s Lords – are exempt.
“With costs increasing for every day they spend in their ermine robes it’s time this unelected retirement home came to an end.
“It’s particularly questionable that a former Labour MP, disgraced by the expenses scandal and told to repay more than £4,000 in expenses, is still coining it in at the taxpayers’ expense. Lord Watson lost the respect of the public a long time ago but he still feels free to claim our taxes for his expenses without doing any work for it. He had to stand down as an MSP for his actions but amazingly can still remain a Lord.
“People will rightly question whether these unelected Lords are worth the money. The reputation of the House of Lords has been left in tatters by a number of scandals, and as long as peers are on the payroll of private interests or lunching with lobbyists, their legislative motivations are going to be in question.
“Across Scotland people will be wondering what these Scottish Lords and Ladies are getting their £2 million for. In the 21st century it is time to bring an end to this tax payer funded feudal patronage and bring full democracy to the UK.”