Sunday Times exposes UK government corruption: Labour members of the House of Lords agree to take cash for backing legislation changes
From the Sunday Times
When the Labour peer Lord Taylor of Blackburn was forced to apologise last year for improperly asking a question in the House of Lords on behalf of a paying client, the Sunday Times Insight team decided to investigate further. Undercover reporters posing as lobbyists contacted 10 peers; five Labour, three Conservative, one Liberal Democrat and an Ulster Unionist, to seek help in amending legislation on behalf of a client.
The results reflect badly not only on the House of Lords but also on the Labour party. Of the 10, four were prepared to do business with our “lobbyists” for fees of up to £120,000 a year. All four were Labour and two were former ministers.
Lord Taylor boasted that he could pick up the telephone and arrange meetings with Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, and that he had succeeded in changing legislation on behalf of Experian, the credit reference company. Lord Truscott, a former energy minister, said he had helped to change the energy bill on behalf of a company selling so-called “smart” electricity meters.
All four Labour peers – the others were Lord Snape, a former Labour whip, and Lord Moonie, another former minister – offered to help secure legislative changes by putting in a word with ministers, civil servants, or with the relevant members of parliamentary committees. One boasted of the huge amount of such business done in the Lords.
From the Taxpayer’s Alliance, April 2008
The Noble Lord Snape, former railwayman and MP, has rushed to the defence of speaker Michael Martin, calling the inquiry into his wife’s £4,000 taxi bill a “load of fuss and nonsense about nothing”.
From The Guardian, May 2005
Two former ministers, Alan Milburn and Lewis Moonie, were fast-tracked by a government appointments watchdog to take up work with a Labour donating lobbying company which ignores a voluntary code of conduct not to pay or employ politicians. Lord Moonie became an associate director and consultant for the lobbying company, Sovereign Strategy, last December, having stood down as defence minister in July 2003. He said yesterday: “My job will be to teach clients how to lobby government, not to lobby government for clients.”
From Craig Murray, April 2007
Straw’s links with BAE are partly conducted through Lord Taylor of Blackburn, the former leader of the Blackburn with Darwen Council that includes Straw’s Blackburn constituency. Lord Taylor, an archetypal New Labour apparatchik from Straw’s constituency machine, has lived off the taxpayer in Labour Party appointed posts all his life. He is now chiefly known as the second highest claimer of expenses in the House of Lords. In 2005 Lord Taylor claimed over £57,000 of tax-free expenses, over three times the average claim of under £19,000. he spoke 15 times in the year.
But he doesn’t really need that public money anymore, as the grasping creep Taylor is the primary conduit between the defence industry and New Labour. He has been a highly paid “Consultant” to BAE for over a decade. He also has used some of that money to make major contributions to Jack Straw’s election expenses in his Blackburn constituency, declared by Straw in the Register of Member’s interests. Lord Taylor also regularly makes large contributions to fund Blackburn New Labour. When I stood against Straw in Blackburn at the last election, Taylor was present with Straw at a black tie event hosted by BAE in the constituency said to be “unrelated to the election”.
Interestingly, this year in the House of Lords’ Register of Members’ interests, BAE has disappeared from Taylor’s list of eleven paid consultancies and two paid directorships. It might be interesting to dig for links between these companies and BAE. Some are certainly arms firms – including the highly sinister Electronic Data Systems.
EDS is another of the arms companies that has made many billions from the Iraq war. Among their many current defence contracts is a $12 billion project on electronic systems for the US armed forces. Presumably a well-plugged in New Labour apparatchik like Lord Taylor was of no hindrance to EDS in March 2005 when they landed a �2.5 billion contract from the UK MOD for a similar project. Indeed, if Lord Taylor cannot help swing that kind of contract, why are EDS paying him?
I do not have power of words sufficiently to condemn the institutional sleaze of a system where a scumbag like Lord Taylor can be put, unelected, by Blair into a seat for life in the national legislature. There, while a legislator, he can act as a well paid and highly connected lobbyist for the arms industry.