Want a seat in the House of Lords? Be Tory Treasurer and donate £ 3million
However, others have raised concerns about the ethics of ennobling so many donors. Lord Jay, who was chairman of the Lords Appointments Commission between 2008 and 2013, told the Sunday Times about donations: “When I was there I think it was probably less of a factor than it is today. But it has been a factor for a very long time.
For years all political parties have insisted that appointments are made on the basis of experience, not money, and that the large number of donors in the Lords is pure coincidence. But the openDemocracy figures show just how improbable these claims are.
“It has become institutionalized that when you are done with your time as Tory Party treasurer, there is a good chance that you will be sent to the House of Lords,” said a former minister.
A Tory donor told a Sunday Times source he donated £ 1million to the party after being encouraged to do so by a party treasurer, who suggested it could lead to a House of Lords seat . He said the party dangled peerages at donors like “carrots” and everyone in the party was aware of the “cynical operation”.
But many insiders are worried about the consequences of speaking out openly and claim that the party has operated under an “Omertà law” on the subject.
“Seemed to be a reward”
Until now, members of the House of Lords Appointments Commission have never spoken publicly about the peerage granted to Peter Cruddas last year. But one of them, Lord Clark of Windermere, now admits that the episode “left me with a bad taste in my mouth.” He was one of six hastily gathered six commissioners who held a video meeting to discuss the nominations last December.
A source close to the commission explained the time pressure exerted on its members for the appointment of Crudas: “The papers come from the Cabinet Office and they must be processed within a few days because the Prime Minister always says: to make these appointments , I want to make these announcements.
“There were very strong feelings within the committee about this. It just seemed like a reward and [commissioners] didn’t think it was fair, to be honest, given the money he had given the Conservatives, ”they added. They suggested that the six commissioners – a retired bishop, the Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, three peers nominated by major political parties and a history professor – had voted unanimously to block the peerage of Cruddas.
Johnson was the first prime minister to overthrow the commission, arguing that Cruddas deserved a peerage as a “clear and rare exception” because of his contributions to business, charity and politics. However, Johnson did not respond to the commission’s concerns about Cruddas’ donations to the party.
Cruddas himself said that it was “absolutely not true” that his peerage and gifts were linked in any way, adding: “It would be corruption and it certainly is not. “