Lord Truscott, the former energy minister, said he had helped to ensure the Energy Bill was favourable to a client selling “smart” electricity meters. Lord Taylor of Blackburn claimed he had changed the law to help his client Experian, the credit check company... [Lord] Taylor told the reporters: “I will work within the rules, but the rules are meant to be bent sometimes... Taylor, a former BAE consultant, said he would not table the amendment himself but offered to conduct a “behind the scenes” campaign to persuade ministers and officials. After agreeing a one-year retainer for £120,000, he said he would discuss the amendment with Yvette Cooper, chief secretary to the Treasury, and talk to officials drafting the bill.
Truscott, his Labour colleague, was also keen to help “behind the scenes” – for a fee of up to £72,000: “I can work with you . . . identifying people and following it . . . meeting people, talking to people to facilitate the amendment and making sure the thing is granted.”
He said he would identify and talk to people who could be persuaded to change the legislation. He offered to contact MPs, peers, civil servants and John Healey, the minister in charge of the legislation.
Moonie offered to help for a fee of £30,000 a year and Snape indicated that he would charge £24,000. By contrast Lord Rogan, the Ulster Unionist peer, said: “If your direct proposal is as stark as for me . . . to help to put down an amendment, that’s a nonrunner. A, it’s not right and b, my personal integrity wouldn’t let me do it.”
All political parties have suffered sleaze allegations, so I'm not going to go off on a knee-jerk rant. But once again the reputation of politicians is going to be dragged through the mire. On the face of it, these four Peers have a lot of very difficult questions to answer. If they are guilty of the accusations they deserve to lose their party's whip and possibly more.
I wonder if the BBC will report this story in the same way that they reported the Cash for Questions incidents. Nothing on their website yet... Waiting...
UPDATE 10.30pm: The story has now finally appeared on the BBC News website but still nothing on TV news bulletins though, according to commenters.
UPDATE 12 noon: It's now leading the BBC news bulletin.