Four Liebour Lords have been caught out by undercover reporters apparently offering to change bills for money.
The 4 Lords – Lord Truscott, Lord Moonie, Lord Taylor of Blackburn and Lord Snape – were all approached by undercover reporters for the Sunday Times and allegedly agreed to introduce amendments to bills going through the House of Lords in exchange for a fee of up to £120k.
It’s worth noting that all four of the Lords in question are Life Peers, appointed to the House of Lords rather than inheriting their seat and further evidence that the appointment of Peers, or even their election, would be bad for democracy.
These Life Peers have made a career out of politics and shown themselves not to have the best interests of the country in mind but their own career and that has led them to the monumentally bad decision of apparantly accepting bribes. Would a hereditary peer have taken the bribe? There’s always the chance that they might because even Lords and Ladies get short of cash but it’s far less likely – they tend not to make a career out of politics and there are easier ways of getting your hands on cash if you’ve got a title than taking a bung off a dodgy businessman.
The problem with appointing people to the Lords or with electing them to the House is that they are reliant on the job for their income. You only have to look at the amount of fraud and corruption amongst MPs to see what happens when you put people of limited substance into a position of power. Corrupt politics on the scale experienced now is a relatively recent phenomenon. A century ago most MPs were wealthly landowners, Lords, doctors, etc. – people with money, a career and a reputation. The job of an MP was a philanthropic choice of career rather than one with a hugely inflated salary, an effective immunity from prosecution and a retirement package that will keep you in luxury for the rest of your natural.
Those who seek power are not worthy of that power.