Shameless peer claimed £300 allowance while taxi waited outside

Posted On: 
21st February 2017

A brazen peer nipped into parliament to claim his £300 daily allowance and back out within minutes as his taxi waited idling by the kerbside, the ex-speaker of the Lords has claimed.

The shocking claim was made in a new BBC documentary
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Baroness D’Souza said the peer in question - who she refused to name - was one of “many, many, many who contribute absolutely nothing, but who claim the full allowance”.

Her astonishing allegation, in a new BBC documentary titled Inside the Lords, has prompted fresh calls for the upper chamber - dubbed London’s “best elderly care home” in the show - to be abolished.

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“I was leaving the House quite late and there was a peer, who shall be utterly nameless, who jumped out of a taxi just outside the peers’ entrance, left the engine running,” Baroness D’Souza recounted.

“He ran in, presumably to show he’d ­attended, and then ran out again while the taxi was still running. That’s not normal, but it is something that does happen.”

The Electoral Reform Society branded the tale “truly scandalous” and said the public was “sick to death of this kind of behaviour” from peers.

Chief ­executive Katie Ghose said: “This provides more evidence that we urgently need to move to a fully elected chamber.

“Let’s fix this broken House before the situation gets any worse.”

She added: “We already knew some peers claim their £300 without speaking or voting, but to hear this from the former Lords Speaker herself is astonishing and shows just how severe this problem really is.

“Baroness D’Souza has exposed a truly scandalous situation. The public are sick to death of this kind of behaviour.”

Baroness D’Souza was herself criticised in 2015 for spending £230 to keep a chauffeur-driven car waiting while she attended an opera.

The peer also spent £270 while a car waited four and a half hours for her to have lunch with a Japanese ambassador in central London.

'BEST DAY CARE IN LONDON'

Elsewhere in the documentary Lib Dem Lord Tyler offers a withering assessment of the Upper Chamber, saying: “It is the best day care centre for the elderly in London.

“Families can drop in him or her, make sure staff look after them, there will be meals subsidised by the taxpayer and they can have a snooze in the ­afternoon.”

Other peers raised questions about the appointment process - long considered a reward system used by Prime Ministers to help their friends and colleagues.

Labour peer and former home secretary Lord Blunkett said: “You’ve got people who may well be part of the patronage of the ­Government of the day, rewarded for ­either keeping their mouth shut, or ­opening their mouth or their purse at a particular moment in time.”

And Tory peer and former trade secretary Lord Tebbit said: “Far too many people have been put in here as a sort of personal reward.”