“Crony donors win a peerage and then disappear”

An article in today’s Sunday Times reports that five generous donors to political parties who were given peerages attended the House of Lords for less than 12 days each in the following year:

Tory donors Lord Wolfson £555,650) attended for 2 days
Tory Lord Bamford (£101,249) – 5 days
Labour Lord Haughey (£1,740,000) – 7 days
Tory Lord Glendonbrook (£2,110,000) – 12 days
Labour Lord Drayson (£1,110,000) – 12 days

The 23 peers who have donated more than £100,000 each attended for an average of 52 days, six of the top donors attended less than 14 times.

The article goes on: “The presence of party donors is worrying enough for the public. The fact that … some of them don’t even vote adds to people’s suspicions that the Lords is a cosy club for political retirees and hangers-on.

Later on, in the same newspaper, columnist Adam Boulton makes the point that some of the peers are removed by parties from their safe seats, allowing new leaders to parachute in their favourites.

He goes on to say that, in the 1960s, a proportional ratio of peers to MPs was suggested but that an unlikely alliance between Michael Foot and Enoch Powell put paid to it, lading to one of them saying it would be “A second chambet selected by the Whips. A seraglio of eunuchs”!