Expenses: £621,000 claimed by silent peers in 2014-15
More than £621,000 in parliamentary expenses was claimed by peers who never spoke in debates during the 2014-15 parliamentary session, it has emerged.
A group of 34 peers meanwhile claimed a total of £130,000 despite never voting, and eight claimed £29,000 but neither spoke or voted.
The figures are revealed in Parliament Ltd, a book by journalist Martin Williams published last week.
Members of the House of Lords take no salary but can claim £300 a day for turning up, plus some travel costs.
The highest amount for a peer who never spoke was Lord Taylor of Blackburn, who claimed £43,110 in 2014-15.
Among those who never voted was crossbencher the Earl of Stair, who the book says “turned up for just 17 days of the year but claimed almost £14,000 on expenses, including more than £6,000 on air travel”.
Of those who neither spoke of voted, the highest claimant was Lord Steyn, a former law lord, at £11,250.
The peer, who has not spoken in a debate since 2009, attended parliament for his £300 allowance 86 times in 2014-15 and lives 15 minutes away from Westminster.
Meanwhile the book reveals Liberal Democrat peer Lord Paddick cost the taxpayer £8,897.84 to fly to Britain and back from a holiday in New York so he could speak in the 2014 debate about military action against Islamic State.
The peer spoke for four minutes before making the business class trip back to JFK airport on a flatbed seat that same night.
Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, told the Sunday Times:
“The Lords is full of people who are unable to make a real contribution to running the country.
“We need to ensure the second chamber is part of a fully effective democratic system rather than a vehicle to keep elderly politicians happy.”