Clerk of the Parliaments Michael Pownall has given the Lords almost free reign to continue troughing after his meek and timid review into Peers who have broken expenses rules. Yesterday he cleared nine peers and referred just one for further scrutiny. Most of them had been up to the classic trick of claiming overnight allowances despite not really requiring them. The Sunlight Centre was repeatedly knocked back when pursuing former Lib Dem CEO Lord Rennard about this so it comes as no surprise that a total whitewash has been undertaken by Pownell.
Not only did he clear offenders, in an attempting to clarify the rules Pownall has made things worse. The Peers now just have to spend one night a month, while the House is sitting, at whatever location they choose to state as their “main home”, be it their own, a spouse’s home or even a relative’s place.
In other words a Member of the House of Lords can now make up to £30,000-a-year by spending ten days a year at a residence, of their own designation, outside of London. (One night per sitting month and £174 overnight allowances the rest of the time.) Yet again it really is “all within the rules”.