Tag Archives: House of Lords

Westminster for sale: update

Job swap coterie

Two peers were suspended from their party and a third has quit after our Sunday Times investigation caught them offering to ask parliamentary questions, lobby ministers and host receptions in the House of Lords in return for cash.

Lord Cunningham, Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate and Lord Laird offered to become paid advocates for a firm pushing for new laws to benefit its business. They also said they could set up an all-party parliamentary group as a lobbying vehicle.

Full details are in this Sunday Times article by Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake of the Insight investigations team.

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Westminster for sale

Cash for access - Lords exposed

I’ve been working with the Insight investigations team at The Sunday Times for the last couple of weeks on an investigation into lobbying in the Houses of Parliament.

We made the splash on 2 June with this sting, in which three peers offered to become paid advocates for a firm pushing for new laws to benefit its business. They also offered to set up an all party parliamentary group as a lobbying vehicle.

Full text of the front page, and the inside read can be found on the Sunday Times website:

Cash for access: Lords exposed

‘Make that £12,000 a month and I think we’ve got a deal’

‘Getting to see ministers is part of the package’

Three peers have been filmed revealing how they can pull strings for lobbyists in return for cash payments. Insight reports

Job swap ‘coterie’ to beat rules

In undercover meetings the peers reveal how they dodge the ban on pushing private business in parliament.

PDF versions can be found after the fold.

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What price freedom (of information)?

I’ve written an article on the threat to the Freedom of Information Act ahead of the conclusion of a Justice Select Committee’s inquiry.

As a reporter, freedom of information laws often offer the best route when investigating matters which are not in the public domain.

Many topics, from expenses to disciplinary procedures, are often kept private and details can be difficult to obtain. Even though FOI requests are not infallible, they are a valuable tool for every journalist, and to me it is unthinkable that the rules could be watered down.

Stories I have found through FOI requests include John Bercow’s chauffered car habit, the BBC boss who was paid off then rehired, and the council that used terror law to catch a carrot thief.

Full text is on the Telegraph website here, or read on.

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Disgraced lord milks another £14,000 in expenses

I worked on a Sunday Times team to analyse the House of Lords’ expenses to identify which Lords are claiming the maximum in expenses despite only rarely speaking or voting.

Lord Truscott, who voted only twice in three months but claimed £14,100, was previously named in the Sunday Times ‘Cash for Influence’ investigation after he was filmed asking for £72,000 in exchange for amending a bill. He was suspended for six months after he was found to have breached the Upper House’s code of conduct.

The full article is on the Sunday Times website here, and after the fold.

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