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Peer of the Week: Lord Truscott

Author: Jack Maizels

Published on Aug 08, 2012

Peer of the Week: Lord Truscott


Our Peer of the Week series aims to shed some light on the members of the House of Lords who contribute to making laws in the UK. Each week, we’ll look at the chosen Peer’s background, voting and attendance records as well as any controversy associated with their actions, and question whether these really are the best people to be involved in the legislative process.


Who he is:

  • Born Peter Derek Truscott, he was given a life peerage in 2004, sitting on the Labour benches, though is now non-affiliated
  • His career has centred around petroleum and mining consultancy with his own consultancy business, Energy Enterprises Ltd
  • His consultancy work includes clients such as Gavin Anderson, a PR Firm linked to the Putin government, and Gazprom, the largest extractor of natural gas in the world
  • He has also worked with Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd, a company involved in oil prospecting in Iraq, and African Minerals Ltd, formerly known as Sierra Leone Diamond Company

Political Involvement:

  • He served as a County Councillor in Colchester between 1988 and 1992, ran unsuccessfully as a Labour parliamentary candidate for Torbay in 1992 and was the Labour MEP for Hertfordshire between 1994 and 1999
  • Under Blair’s premiership, Truscott served Special Envoy to Russia and was a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy at the Department of Trade and Industry 2006 to 2007

Expenses, Voting and Attendance Records:

  • In 2011, he attended Parliament on 147 days, voted 19 times (out of 131 divisions) and claimed £44,100, tax free, in expenses
  • During this period, he spoke in one debate, wrote no written questions and was not a member of any parliamentary select committees
  • Before his resignation from the Labour Party in May 2009, he voted against his party on just 3 of the 424 occasions he voted in the Lords, giving him a rebellion rate of 0.7%

Controversy:

  • Truscott was a central figure in the Cash For Influence scandal in January 2009, in which he “deliberately created the impression” to journalists posing as lobbyists that he could amend legislation on behalf of a paying client
  • Whilst he did not directly move an amendment to the 2008 Energy Bill, Truscott was caught on tape implying that he had influenced a provision in the Bill to install smart meters on a national level for his client Landis+Gyr, an energy meter company
  • Scotland Yard decided against launching a police investigation into the matter instead leaving it to the House of Lords, who in May 2009, gave Truscott a 6 month suspension, after which he was allowed to return to his seat in the Lords
  • He was also embroiled in the expenses scandal in February 2009, when it was revealed that, soon after receiving his peerage, he bought a small flat in Bath, registered it as his main residence and claimed £28,000 a year in over-night expenses on his Mayfair apartment

 

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