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30 December 2015

Three-Quarters of New 'Lords a Leaping' from Party to Peerage

Banffshire & Buchan Coast SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has highlighted new analysis showing that almost three-quarters of peers created since the UK election in May are ‘party insiders’ – including former MPs, Special Advisers or party aides – and has called on Jeremy Corbyn to honour his commitment to not appointing any new peers until the House of Lords is reformed.

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Since the General Election 62 new peers have entered the House of Lords, including four new hereditary peers and two bishops. However, by far the biggest group of new peers are retiring, former or deselected MPs and MEPs – 28 of the total. Four former UK Government Special Advisors and a number of Conservative party officials have also been introduced to the House of Lords. In contrast, only four academics and two third sector figures have become peers over the same period.

Commenting, Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“Supporters of the unelected House of Lords often argue that it allows expert, outside experience to scrutinise legislation – these figures put lie to this myth and show that it is nothing more than a house of cronies.

“The facts speak for themselves – House of Lords appointments are overwhelmingly being used to reward loyal politicians and advisors or as a consolation prize for losing elections. It is beyond belief that this is tolerated in a democratic country.

“The SNP has never, and will never, accept seats in the unelected House of Lords. Prior to his election as Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn backed an SNP call for parties not to appoint new peers until the House of Lords is reformed – he must honour this commitment.

“Ending the absurdity of new Lords ‘a leaping’ from party positions to peerages would be a start – but it’s long past time that the House of Lords was reformed and this whole farce ends for good.”
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