Saturday, 28 November 2009


Details of Brooke's claims, and his two houses

I suppose it must be handy after a hard day at the Lords to only have to travel three miles to your townhouse in London, one which you have owned for 23 years and where you are on the electoral list.

So it came as a bit of a surprise to me... well, only a very little bit of a surprise, I admit... to discover that the Noble Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe, actually doesn’t count his London home as his first residence. Nope, amazingly His Lordship instead regards his first home as being in Brighton. This is even more astounding when you consider that his wife works as a community director of Battersea nursery school and that he has his company directorships listed from his Battersea address. Why, I kept on asking myself, did he then tell the House of Lords' expenses department that his main home was on the south coast of England? Then it came to me in a flash.

£140,000. That’s it. For that is what he has charged us for him to stay overnight in his own home all these years. It’s just as well we have a broad back, isn’t it? Just as well that, as a country, we have money to burn. Just as well we’re not trying to cut back on anything like benefits, pensions and Territorial Army, isn’t it? Just as well we're not looking at big redundancies in the Civil Service so that we can save money.

His Lordship says that he has done nothing wrong, don't they always? He is entitled to claim these expenses. He says that he lives in Brighton for seven months of the year and as such is allowed to claim his overnight allowances when he has to be in London. But my point is that he has had his London home for more than 20 years. The allowance is for peers to claim hotel expenses when they are overnighting in London due to Lord’s business. It was never designed so that people could charge the taxpayer for staying overnight in their own home.

The noble Baron was in the news earlier this year when it came to light that he had failed to declare £36,000 a year earnings from management consultancy with a company when dealing in the House with matters concerning their clients’ interests. He resigned from the consultancy in the aftermath of these revelations.

For some all this might be acceptable behaviour, but for a man who has spent his life as a trade unionist and a keen advocate of financial moderation, it really shows a moral compass stuck at self interest.

Shame on you, your Lordship.


  1. Shame indeed. But will any action be taken? No. 'It's all within the rules'.

    These people cover each other's backs like a rash.

  2. It’s true what they say: “nice work if you can get it”

    I’m wondering if there is not a case for electoral fraud of some kind in having your main residence in a different constituency from where you are registered to vote. Would that not mean, if true, that he uses the services of Brighton and Hove Council while having an electoral outcome on the ones in LB Westminster/Lambeth where he claims himself not to reside? I’m wondering if it is legal to be able to vote in elections in places where you freely admit to not living.

  3. S/R that is a lovely way of putting it! Makes it sound like some sort of disease. Whatever the rights or wrongs it certainly seems to be contagious.

    The “within the rules” gambit is really beginning to become very threadbare but I agree very little will probably be done. How well I remember Tony Blair promising to do away with the House of Lords, how that warmed a republican heart. But I also forgot that Neil Kinnock also promised the same thing and now him and his wife are both Lords in their own rights and have two bites of the cherry. And “what” I ask did either of them do for the UK the Labour Party or indeed for anything at all? Well I don’t know. But in the interests of fairness and so that I cannot be accused of being a cybernat that wishes to defame these peoples good names I will say that I am sure that they did something at some point for somebody to merit their exalted positions in society, and that their apparent changes of mind on a hitherto fundamental issue of belief is to all intents and purposes a natural progression of ideas from what may be perceived as radical to what may be perceived, by some, as a corrupt selling down the river of natural justice and principles. It must be said that there are other ways of perceiving these activities and that the ones outlined here are only the opinions of the author.

  4. Yes, Subrosa. A rash. A nasty festering rash too. I get so angry about this. They rant on about decency, financial moderation, rights of the working man and what have you, and what they really mean is "let me get my hands on what you people have got and I'll exploit it as much as I possibly can".

  5. Munguin. Within the rules it shouldn't be. It isn't anywhere else. No one should be able to get their hands on a penny of our cash without providing a receipt. It's the way it happens in other people's lives and it's the way it should happen for them.

    Clearly we once understood that aristocrats were not the same as the rest of us. The rest of us would possibly take every opportunity possible to steal money from out employers, and so it was necessary for us to provide receipts for everything we ever purchased. Aristos were above all that.

    Well, we were wrong. As Mr Brooke and a lot of his colleagues have shown, this is not true. Whether they are appointed life peers or the other kind that got there through no effort of their own, they are just as likely as the rest of us to be dodgy. So, in the interests of maintaining law and order, we need to place the same sort of restrictions on them as on everyone else.

    I take your point. We must be very careful to ensure that we cover our backs when posting anything disparaging about members of certain parties.

    We must be at pains to point out that any views expressed in any post are those of the writer and of no one, and nothing, else. Otherwise who knows what lengths the authorities will go to.

    A timely warning to us all.

  6. Tris: exactly it’s all a matter of perceptions. You may perceive Lord Brooke as a fiddling chump, but I’m sure he perceives himself as being within the bounds of right, even dare I say natural justice. And that having attained an exalted rank in life the trivia of day to day morals that encumber all us of a lesser station, do not necessarily apply. And in the same way what for a normal human being would be a vile transgression of the law is for a law maker like his Lordship a mere hiccup of no consequence. And now hey presto we are seeing both sides of this coin.

    Naturally of course it goes without saying that the views expressed here are only those of the....etc etc etc.

  7. Munguin:

    The truth is that these things are within the rules. They are the kind of rules that are framed, or were framed for people, as you say, of exalted position.

    He's allowed to claim for this without a receipt. He did so because he could. He could claim for an expense that he didn't actually have. It's morally reprehensible, but legally quite alright!

    We need to change the laws, in my humble opinion and ensure that these aristocrats start to live by the same rules as us lesser mortals.

  8. He's done nothing legally wrong, but morally? He's totally out of order, no honourable gentleman there methinks.

  9. QM. I'm wondering how long we should go on allowing them to be called these ridiculous names. Honourable, right honourable, noble, gallant, learned... It seems to me they are none of these things and they are bringing the words into disrepute.

    The words, the Right Honourable and Noble Lord seem to me to be fantastical now.

    Someone should move to remove them as official forms of address in that parliament in London.