Want to join the House of Lords? Turns out you can “buy” peerages. Here’s how

What we’ve long suspected is true

Research proves there’s a link between those who donate to political parties and those who become Lords and Baronesses.

While there’s no “cast-iron proof” that any peerages have been sold, Oxford University has found there is a statistically “significant” relationship between peerages and party donations.

Researchers looked at lifetime peerage nominations from 2005-2014 and removed anyone who would have definitely been granted a peerage because of parliamentary or council service and those who were “people’s peers” (nominated by the House of Lords Appointments Commission).

This left 92 others, who between them donated £33.83m to British political parties. This was 97.9% of all the money donated to parties from people nominated for peerages.

The researchers looked not just at the individuals but also took into account money donated by their family members, companies and trade unions.

“Detecting such information was no easy feat, involving as it did a series of shell companies, holding companies, wholly-owned subsidiaries, and investigating the shareholder composition and boardroom composition of each company,” the Oxford University report said.

The academics found the likelihood of being nominated for a peerage and coincidentally donating a large sum to a party was about the same as entering the National Lottery and winning five times in a row.

“Whilst coincidence is theoretically possible, this explanation does stretch the limits of credulity,” the report said.

It’s illegal in the UK to sell peerages and, if any allegations were proven, it would result in a hefty prison sentence. However, this has only ever happened on one occasion in 1933.

Cheapest peerages

Peerage price graph

It seems the Conservative Party received the smallest donations per peer nomination at an average of £220,000, which means that would be the cheapest if you were buying a peerage.

The average donation to the Lib Dems was £333,000 and the average for Labour was £464,000.

“If peerages are being sold, then these could be thought of as the ‘average price’ per party,” the researchers said.

Easiest peerages

Peerage liklihood(£=big donor, white=peer nomination)

However, the Tories had the largest number of big donors meaning statistically you only have a 1 in 22 chance of being nominated for a peerage after donating to the Tories.

Your best bet is the Lib Dems, where if you donate a large sum, you have a 1 in 7 chance of being nominated for a peerage.  This is followed by Labour with a 1 in 14 chance.

So there you have it.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • what a cheek jobs for the boys, un electer by the commian man, get rid of them.

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