Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Times: Labour peers offer to change laws for cash

From today's Sunday Times:

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.

Two of the peers were secretly recorded telling the reporters they had previously secured changes to bills going through parliament to help their clients.

Lord Truscott, the former energy minister, said he had helped to ensure the Energy Bill was favourable to a client selling “smart” electricity meters. Lord Taylor of Blackburn claimed he had changed the law to help his client Experian, the credit check company.

The other peers mentioned in the report are Lord Moonie and Lord Snape.

As Iain Dale says, if this story is true it makes "cash for questions" look rather tame.

The newspaper quotes Norman Baker as saying:

"Legislators in the Commons and the Lords are there to pass legislation on behalf of the country, not to change the law in return for financial favours."

He also says he will be taking up the matter with the Lords authorities.

1 comment:

Tristan said...

The cynic would say that the crime of these peers is to explicitely do what the majority of politicians have always done and always will do - make law in favour of their own interests.

MPs like to have jobs after Paliament and not all occupy safe seats which will only be lost in a cataclysm, so they will curry favour with outside interests.

This is probably most explicit when it comes to regulators - they tend to go and work in the industry they regulated after they leave the regulatory body.