The Conservatives have been caught up in a fresh scandal after an investigation found multimillionaires donating at least £3m to the Tories appeared to be ‘guaranteed’ a seat in the House of Lords.
With the Owen Paterson affair continuing to blight the party, a new sleaze row threatens to add insult to misery.
A joint investigation by The Sunday Times and Open Democracy claims to have found evidence of a new “cash for peerages” scandal, as 16 of the party’s main treasurers have reportedly been offered a seat in the Lords over the past 20 years.
The only exception is the most recent one, who stood down two months ago, the probe says.
£3 million donations
Since gaining power in 2010, successive Tory Prime Ministers have elevated nine of the party’s former treasurers to the 800-strong chamber, the Sunday Times states.
Each reportedly donated at least £3m to the party.
A number of former Tory ministers have spoken out against the apparent trend, one saying it was a “scandal in plain sight” that was no secret in the party.
One unnamed ex-party chairman told the paper: “The truth is the entire political establishment knows this happens and they do nothing about it… The most telling line is once you pay your £3 million, you get your peerage.”
The report come after the Prime Minister was hit by blistering criticism over his handling of the Owen Paterson scandal this week.
Former prime minister Sir John Major launched an extraordinary broadside at Boris Johnson’s Government over the row.
The Conservative former premier said the conduct was “shameful” and had trashed the reputation of Parliament.
And he suggested the Johnson administration was “politically corrupt” over its treatment of the House of Commons.
“Shameful and wrong”
The Prime Minister was forced to U-turn over a plan to prevent Mr Paterson facing a 30-day Commons suspension for a serious breach of lobbying rules.
Mr Paterson subsequently quit as an MP after the Government abandoned an attempt to set up a Tory-dominated committee to re-examine his case and the wider Commons standards regime.
Sir John said: “I think the way the Government handled that was shameful, wrong and unworthy of this or indeed any government. It also had the effect of trashing the reputation of Parliament.”
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