Labour Lords caught charging fees to change law

January 25th, 2009 - 5:55 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 25 (IANS) Ruling Labour Party members of the House of Lords - Britain’s unelected upper chamber of parliament - are prepared to accept fees of up to 120,000 pounds a year to amend laws on behalf of business clients, a Sunday newspaper found after a sting operation.Four Lords, including two former ministers, offered to help undercover Sunday Times reporters posing as lobbyists obtain an amendment in return for cash.

Two of the peers told the reporters they previously secured changes to bills going through parliament to help their clients.

The four were named as Lord Peter Truscott, former energy minister, Lord Thomas Taylor, Lord Lewis Moonie, a former junior minister at the ministry of defence, and Lord Peter Snape.

While Truscott told reporters he had helped to ensure an energy bill was favourable to a client selling “smart” electricity meters, Taylor said he had changed the law to help his client Experian, a credit check company.

The paper said the disclosure that peers are ‘for hire’ confirms “persistent rumours in Westminster that lobbyists are targeting the Lords rather than the [lower chamber] Commons, where MPs are under greater scrutiny”.

Taylor, a former British Aerospace consultant, said he would not table an amendment himself but offered to conduct a “behind the scenes” campaign to persuade ministers and officials.

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