A FORMER speaker of the Lords has said some peers do ‘absolutely nothing’ to earn their £300 daily attendance allowance.
Baroness D’Souza told the BBC she saw one member of Parliament’s upper house keep a taxi waiting as he dashed inside to sign in before leaving again.
She makes the claims in a BBC documentary that also features stinging criticisms from insiders including former cabinet ministers.
Tory Lord Tebbit said peerages were bestowed as ‘personal rewards’. And former Labour home secretary Lord Blunkett said people were ennobled for ‘shutting their mouth or opening their purse’.
Lib Dem Lord Tyler called the Lords ‘the best day care centre for the elderly in London’.
The BBC2 documentary, to be aired on Monday at 9pm, comes after the vote to leave the EU reignited debate about the future of the Lords.
Remainer peers have been warned the upper house could be abolished if it blocks Brexit — leading some critics to argue it might as well be scrapped if members cannot use their powers.
Scientist Lady D’Souza, a cross-bencher, said the Lords had ‘lost its sense of honour’. She added: ‘There are many, many, many peers who contribute absolutely nothing but who claim the full allowance.
‘One occasion when I was leaving the House quite late, there was a peer — who shall be nameless — who jumped out of a taxi just outside the peers’ entrance, left the engine running.
‘He ran in, presumably to show he’d attended, and ran out again while the taxi was still running.’
Lord Tebbit appeared to have a dig at David Cameron, who asked the Queen to give peerages to five of his office staff and an OBE to his wife’s personal stylist.
He said: ‘You wouldn’t have imagined Mrs Thatcher wanting to give a peerage to Denis Thatcher’s tailor. But we have come pretty close to that in recent years.’
Disgraced Lord Hanningfield was suspended from the Lords in 2014 for clocking in and out 11 days in a row without doing any work. He said later: ‘I can name 50 others that do it.’
The Electoral Reform Society called Lady D’Souza’s claims ‘truly scandalous’. ‘We urgently need to move to a fully-elected chamber,’ said boss Katie Ghose.
A Lords spokesman insisted it was ‘an active and effective revising chamber’.