Lords must be subject to independent scrutiny too – Tyler

Liberal Democrat Peers in the Lords thwarted Conservative attempts to delay reform of parliamentary expenses this week, by voting down an amendment which would have seen the creation of a new Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority delayed until after the Summer.

Speaking in the House of Lords, Liberal Democrat spokesman, Lord Tyler challenged Ministers to make clear how the new authority would work and who would decide its budget. And he called on the Government to make sure the House of Lords would soon be subject to similar independent scrutiny. “It will be said, sooner rather than later, that the arrangements for the other place in terms of setting and deciding allowances should apply to your Lordships’ House as well. There are implications; and we would all be behaving like a herd of noble ostriches, if we felt that there was nothing in this Bill that could affect your Lordships’ House. The dangerous situation with ostriches is that they tend to get bitten in a very uncomfortable place,” he said.

The Government has committed not to deal with the House of Lords in the present emergency legislation before Parliament.

Commenting after the exchanges, Lord Tyler said:

“This is a government in a hurry to sate the public thirst for change in the MPs’ expenses system. “But the system in the House of Lords is just as questionable – if not more so.

“It’s very odd not to get our House in order at the same time the Commons does.

“When Parliament returns from the Summer Recess – which it should do early if necessary – the party leaders, the House authorities, and representatives of the backbenches on all sides need to sit down and work out a way forward.

“And just as with the Commons’ new arrangements, it should be an independent body that has the final say.”

ENDS

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