Tyler questions ‘retirement packages’ for Lords

Liberal Democrat Peer, Lord Tyler, this week used a House of Lords debate on mechanisms to enable Members to leave the House to question the idea that there should be ‘retirement packages’ for those who choose to go.

Speaking in the Lords he said, “Why should we now recompense people who, frankly, turn up only to draw that allowance-who do not make a contribution, do not speak, do not ask Questions and perhaps only occasionally vote as the Whips tell them? That is not a real contribution to the work of your Lordships’ House. Occasionally, I hear Peers say that we can take credit for being unsalaried. As has already been said, if you are not salaried, surely that precludes any redundancy payment or pension payment, by definition.”

At present, Peers are appointed for life, and though they may take “permanent leave of absence”, they cannot rescind their membership of the Lords to make way for new appointments. As a result, the number of Peers is now nearing 800.

A special working group, set up by the Leader of the Lords, Lord Strathyclyde, is considering whether an ‘exit route’ should be available, and whether to offer financial incentives to Peers who take it.

Commenting, Lord Tyler said:

“Everyone recognises to reduce the ridiculous size of the present House of Lords, but there is a real question mark over whether the public will consider it remotely justifiable to pay off people who, at the moment, claim to be ‘unpaid’.

“There are a large number of Peers who never turn up, and many more who simply ‘check-in’ for the allowance they draw.

“Providing an exit path paved with gold for such people would surely be repugnant and the reputation of the House would be fatally damaged.

“In fact, those of us who want to motivate and swell public outrage at the spectacle of an unelected House of Parliament would probably benefit most from such a solution!”

ENDS

Lord Tyler’s speech can be found at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201011/ldhansrd/text/101116-0001.htm#10111631000339

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