Thursday, 14 May 2009
I wish I could hire a lord for a day
After you glance at your pay statement, and look at the huge proportion of your income heading into the black hole called the UK government, don't you just wish you could find a nice accommodating member of the legislature to arrange a tax break for you?
In the past there were such helpful souls in the House of Lords. Lord Truscott was one; Lord Taylor of Blackburn was another. Unfortunately, it would cost you. The going rate for a Lord was somewhere between ₤1,000-₤5,000 a day.
However, this helpful service came to a screeching halt when a naughty newspaper filmed one of these tax reduction facilitators offering his services. Apparently, some in the House of Lords thought this trade in amendments was a little unsavory. A previously unknown and inactive committe of the house - subcommittee on lords’ interests - have recommended that the two aforementioned Lords be suspended for six months. It turns out that this rebuke is the most serious that can be levied upon a peer.
Lets get a few things straight. Lords Taylor and Truscott did nothing illegal. This isn't corruption and there is no need for anything as nasty as a call to the Police. In fact, it is only misconduct, which is why the matter was referred to subcommittee on lords’ interests.
Undoubtedly, this was an isolated incident. The vast majority of Lords are hard working and selfless individuals, tirelessly promoting the greater good in the upper house of parliament. Hopefully, in six months time, these two errant Lords can return, suitably chastened and chastised, and everything can get back to normal in the mother of all parliaments.