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31 December 2018

House of Lords Costing £83K for Each Peer and Now Second Only to People's Congress of China in Size

Banffshire & Buchan Coast SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has highlighted new analysis from the UK Parliament showing that 22 new Lords were appointed between January and December 2018, bringing the number of peers in the unelected second chamber to nearly 800 - far exceeding the elected House of Commons chamber of 650 Members and making the Lords the world’s largest legislative body second only to China’s ‘People’s Congress’.

Mr Stevenson branded the House of Lords as 'absolutely absurd' and an affront to democracy. Under Parliamentary rules, peers are able to claim an allowance of £300 per day without saying a word in debates.

At the beginning of 2018, during the reading of the EU Withdrawal Bill, unelected peers had the power to amend the Bill, including aspects on Scotland’s devolution settlement, whilst the will of the Scottish Parliament was ignored.

On principle, the SNP do not take seats in the House of Lords and have consistently called on the unelected chamber to be abolished.

Commenting, Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“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. 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 abolished and this whole farce ends for good.

“Last year, figures showed that each peer costs the taxpayer £83,000 per year and since then, no less than 22 new Lords have been stuffed into the House. Whilst many households and families across the UK spend the festive season worrying how to pay their food and fuel bills, unelected peers enjoy a £300 tax-free daily allowance for as little as 45 minutes attendance.

“The SNP will continue to press the London Government to chuck the donors and cronies because, for taxpayers as well as democrats, the sooner this unaccountable financial drain is abolished, the better.”

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