The majority of Boris Johnson’s new Lords appointees have a background in politics according to research by The Electoral Reform Society.
Known as the Second Chamber in the Houses of Parliament, The House of Lords has about 800 members, most of whom have life peerages. Members are appointed by the Queen from a list of recommendations made by the Prime Minister.
Nine out of the 16 new peers have a background in representative politics, bringing the proportion of Lords whose main background is in elected politics to 30%. .
That means this is making the problem of unelected – often defeated – politicians in the unelected house even worse, state the ERS.
Lords are able to claim £323 a day, tax-free, when the House is sitting in person . The ERS has calculated that the 16 new peers are likely to cost the taxpayer nearly half a million pounds (£490,992) every year. Last year the average amount claimed was £30,687 per peer, according to ERS calculations.
Dr Jess Garland, Director of Policy and Research at the ERS, said:
“Those who vote on our laws for life should be picked by the public, not parties. Sadly, this latest round of peerages provides us with more of the same problems.
“There are now over 800 Lords, and the chamber is bursting at the seams with donors and party figures. Every day the second chamber looks more like a taxpayer-funded private member’s club.
“We need to move to a much smaller, proportionally-elected second chamber that can stand up for the nations and the regions of the UK. With the majority of new peers coming from professional politics, it is increasingly wrong to claim that our unelected lawmakers give the second chamber political independence.
“We need a moratorium on new appointments until parties put forward proposals to move to the democratic revising chamber Britain needs.”
New Lords’ working backgrounds (see breakdown below as background):
- Nine of the 16 new peers (56%) have a background in representative politics
- Two of the 16 new peers (12%) have a background in the voluntary sector, NGOs and think tanks
- One each have a background in banking and finance; clergy/religious; international affairs and diplomacy; legal professions; police/security