“A Labour peer claimed almost £50,000 in attendance and travel expenses covering every single day the House of Lords was sitting last year, despite never speaking or asking any written questions, a Guardian investigation reveals.
The former trade union general secretary David Brookman was among dozens of other lords and baronesses who never took part in a single debate, while almost a third of the 800 peers barely participated in parliamentary business over a 12-month period despite costing almost £3.2m in allowances.
The details have emerged from a new analysis of public data that will raise fresh questions about the size and effectiveness of the Lords, and the funds that can be claimed by those who fail to regularly contribute.
The findings show:
Eighty-eight peers – about one in nine – never spoke, held a government post or participated in a committee at all.
Forty-six peers did not register a single vote, including on Brexit, sit on a committee or hold a post. One peer claimed £25,000 without voting, while another claimed £41,000 but only voted once.
More than 270 peers claimed more than £40,000 in allowances, with two claiming more than £70,000.
The former Lords speaker Frances D’Souza, a long-term advocate of reform, said the findings corroborated “what everyone suspects is going on”, and that a minority of peers risked discrediting the hard work of their colleagues.
“There’s clearly a need to reduce numbers,” Lady D’Souza said, adding that the research “clearly shows there are people who are attending the House of Lords who are not contributing, and therefore they are simply redundant”.
The Guardian’s analysis covers the attendance, participation and allowances claims of 785 lords serving for a full year between 2017 and 2018. They comprise 244 Conservatives, 196 Labour and 97 Liberal Democrats, as well as 248 crossbench peers and various others.”