Special Reports From Archive

house of lords

Jan-25-09 | Revealed: Labour lords change laws for cash.
LABOUR peers are prepared to accept fees of up to £120,000 a year to amend laws in the House of Lords on behalf of business clients, a Sunday Times investigation has found. Four peers — including two former ministers — offered to help undercover reporters posing as lobbyists obtain an amendment in return for cash.

Jan-25-09 | Whispered over tea and cake: price for a peer to fix the law.
BARON TRUSCOTT of St James’s took a bite of his teacake before explaining to the two lobbyists in front of him just how much it would cost to hire a peer of the realm. “Rates vary between £1,000 and £5,000 a day,” he said quietly, his voice almost drowned by the chatter in the House of the Lords dining room. It was a question, he agreed, of getting the right person rather than haggling over the money

Jan-28-09 | The Lords are not so noble any more: The rise of professional politicians should make the Upper House rethink its disciplinary rules.
Cash for laws is worse than cash for questions. In 1994 John Major was vilified for presiding over a culture of sleaze when two insignificant Tory MPs were found to have accepted money to ask questions in Parliament. Four Labour peers have now been accused of being willing to accept cash to alter legislation. Parliamentary questions seek to influence policy through the front door. The peers, by contrast, are being accused of seeking to influence legislation not through the front door by putting down amendments, but through the back door by nobbling ministerial chums. They are alleged to have breached the Lords code of conduct, which declares that “Members of the House... must never accept any financial inducement... for exercising parliamentary influence”, and “must not... promote any matter in return for payment”. The four strenuously deny the allegations, which are to be considered by the sub-committee on Lords' Interests. But, unlike the Commons, the Lords has no sanctions against wrongdoers.

Jan-30-09 | Exclusive: Peers for cash investigation - new undercover footage. The Sunday Times has released secret video and audio in which Lord Truscott offers to help reporters 'facilitate' a bill amendment.
The Sunday Times secretly filmed Lord Truscott, one of the four peers who the newspaper revealed were prepared to assist in changing legislation for cash, during a meeting with the undercover reporters in the St James’ Hotel and Club in London on Wednesday January 21, 2009. The recording shows Truscott telling the reporters, posing as lobbyists, that he will work with them to “facilitate” the amendment to the Business Rates Supplement Bill on behalf of their client.

Feb-01-2009 | Lords for hire: Members of the House of Lords should act primarily out of public interest. Yet some seem too ready to sell their services.
Earlier this month Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan, a Labour peer, walked into the public bill office in the House of Lords with a clutch of amendments to a proposed law going through parliament. The clerks checked the amendments and agreed to their publication. O’Neill, president of the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group, was trying to change a bill about the construction industry so that it would favour his organisation’s members. He is paid a fee by the group, but does not disclose how much.