Mon, Jan 26, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Britain’s House of Lords to probe bribe allegations

AFP , LONDON

The leader of Britain’s House of Lords said yesterday that she would probe allegations that some its members expressed readiness to secure amendments to legislation in exchange for fees.

The Sunday Times newspaper said that four peers, including two former ministers, from the ruling Labour Party had agreed to help its undercover reporters, who were posing as lobbyists, obtain amendments for between £24,000 (US$32,750) and £120,000 a year.

The House of Lords’s Code of Conduct notes that its members “must never accept any financial inducement as an incentive or reward for exercising parliamentary influence.”

The paper reported that Lord Thomas Taylor declined to propose a potential amendment himself, but said he would work “behind the scenes” to sway ministers and officials. Taylor, a former consultant for British defense manufacturer BAE Systems, reportedly agreed to a £120,000-a-year retainer.

Former energy minister Peter Truscott said he would work behind the scenes for up to £72,000.

Lord Lewis Moonie, a former defense minister, said he would help for £30,000 a year, while Lord Peter Snape indicated he would help for £24,000.

Questioned by Britain’s domestic Press Association, Taylor and Moonie said they had done nothing wrong.

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