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Is there any review of LD peers’ expenses?

July 22nd, 2009 Posted in Uncategorized by

Anonymous blogger “Agent Orange” has sent the following letter to Lib Dem President Ros Scott:




Baroness Scott,

In a debate about dealing with sleaze on Liberal Democrat Voice a poster has made the following claims:

“We are still waiting for Party President Baroness Scott to provide a report on how the party is progressing with an ‘independent’ audit of peers expenses. Her silence is hardly inspiring confidence.”


That’s because there isn’t going to be – and there never was going to be – an independent audit of Lib Dem peers expenses. The independent review referred to in Ros Scott’s statement in May was – it turned out – nothing to do with the party, but a review of peers’ allowances in general, set up by the House of Lords itself. Apparently it’s now going to be conducted by the Senior Salaries Review Body.


When I enquired about this to Cowley Street, I was told initially that “There is no reason to “clear” Liberal Democrat Peers of impropriety because no-one has been accused of impropriety” and then – when I pointed out that very specific accusations of impropriety had been made – that they “do not find any grounds for believing that Lord Rennard has broken any rules regarding Lords Allowances”.


So it’s pretty clear that no further action is going to be taken by the party on this.

Could you then kindly clarify first whether this is correct interpretation of your May statement where you said:

“Following publication, Lords McNally and Shutt will undertake a through review of expenses and allowances in the House of Lords which will draw on the work to be undertaken by the independent external assessor who is to be appointed immediately.”

I.e. is it correct that the party has no intention of carrying out any audit or assessment, independent or otherwise, of any peers expenses, and is refusing as a minimum to even consider investigating the very serious fraud allegations laid out in national newspapers against Lord Rennard, Lord Dykes, and Baroness Northover, all of whom it is suggested, to greater or lesser degrees, have falsely claimed a main residence outside London when living in the capital most of the year.

And further could you clarify whether the statement about Lord Rennard above is now the official position of the Federal party. And if so on what basis and what depth of investigation you made into his matter that led you to conclude you could not ‘find any grounds’?.

If you need assistance in this matter I believe the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics have found sufficient grounds to refer the matter to the Privileges Committee.

Following 2 months of silence I think we’d all like to be reassured that you have taken these allegations seriously and have put in place a proper process to investigate them.

Yours Sincerely,

Agent Orange
http://rainbowherbicide.wordpress.com/

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