‘Abolish the national embarrassment’ House of Lords where peers enjoy £323 a day tax-free

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The House of Commons Public Petitions Committee is expected to consider a petition lodged by the SNP MP recently on behalf of her constituents. Backing it, she said: “This is an archaic, unelected institution which is accountable to no one and yet it wields huge influence over how our laws are made.

“Stuffed full of retired politicians, cronies, party donors, bishops and aristocrats, it is appalling that any modern country retains such overt patronage, symbolising the UK establishment’s absurd institutions.”

Mrs Gibson stressed too many Lords were “inactive, yet receive £323 a day attendance allowance tax-free, even if they do not participate in any deliberations.”

She stressed: “To put that in perspective, a single person over 25 on Universal Credit can claim only £317.82 per month.”

The SNP MP stressed there was no place in “modern democracy” for such an institution.

Mrs Gibson, married to SNP MSP Kenny Gibson, added: “Calls for reform of the House of Lords have dragged on for decades, and neither the Tories nor Labour have delivered any meaningful change.

“Indeed, many who have called for abolition, have readily and hypocritically accepted a peerage.

“It does not need reform, it needs to be abolished, but so many of those who tell us they wish to reform it, end up spending their retirement there.

“The most important aspect of a democracy is accountability – the ability to remove people from positions of power – yet voters cannot remove peers, pick its members or influence its decisions.”

The MP has also declared the Lords as a “national embarrassment”.

Mrs Gibson’s petition, stresses in summary: “The petition of residents of the constituency of North Ayrshire and Arran declares that the House of Lords is unrepresentative of and unaccountable to the general UK population.

“The petitioners, therefore, request that the House of Commons urges the Government to abolish the House of Lords in the interests of democracy, accountability and transparency.”

It comes after FOI requests from the SNP revealed peers were outraged by a cut to their £323 daily allowance to £162 due to COVID-19.

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As part of the temporary measures, the House of Lords says the payment is made for those who “actively participate” in debates, as part of the changed response to Parliament’s working hours.

A House of Lords spokesman said the House of Lords was a “highly effective and busy Chamber, performing a vital role of improving legislation and holding the Government to account.”

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