“COUCH POTATO” peers have claimed nearly £1.3 million expenses despite not speaking in a single Lords debate for over a year.
A total of 115 Lords — around one in seven — did not contribute in any debate during the 2016-17 session but were paid an average sum of just over £11,000 each, according to Electoral Reform Society (ERS) analysis.
ERS chief executive Darren Hughes said data appears to show a growing “something for nothing” culture in the unelected chamber.
“And there are a worrying number of couch potato peers and lobby fodder Lords at a time when there is plenty to scrutinise, ostensibly the upper chamber’s role,” he said.
“It’s completely unacceptable that peers can claim thousands without even speaking or voting in the House, and it highlights the reality that there is no accountability for peers.”
Labour MP and former minister David Hanson renewed calls for the Lords to be reformed — starting with hereditary peers.
“We need people of merit in our legislature, not those who happen to be the great grandson of an earl.”
The Lords said it has unanimously agreed to “take steps to reduce its size.”
A spokesman for the house said ERS’s focus was “narrow” and that speaking in the chamber is one way members hold the government to account.
Graham Smith, chief executive officer of democracy campaign Republic, told the Star: “These people abuse the system and its true of any institution where people are not elected.
“Admitting that the Lords is too large is a red herring. Its focus should be more about that Lords cannot be thrown out or got rid of.”