Sunday, January 25, 2009

Labour lords change laws for cash

Lord Taylor of BlackburnShocking news this morning from the Sunday Times that Labour peers are selling their services as legislators. Lord Taylor of Blackburn, who quoted an annual fee of £120,000 to an undercover journalist, also boasted that he had changed a law on behalf of Experian. How ironic then to find this gem in Lords Hansard:

Lord Taylor of Blackburn: My Lords, does the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor not agree that if I ask a question in this House relating to something in which I have an interest, I am brought to order and I have to declare that interest? I often find that lawyers can get away with murder in this House in asking questions in which they have pecuniary and other interests? No one ever challenges them about it. [20 Oct 2005: Column 884]

A quick search using TheyWorkForYou shows that Taylor has not spoken in a privacy debate. Clearly he provided the same private lobbying of ministers and officials to Experian that he offered to the Sunday Times. It seems that Parliament's transparency must be extended to Whitehall if we are to reduce opportunities for such lobbying in future.

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