The Lords is talking about tightening up the rules about who must declare what interest in the House. All this Russian and Chinese money that might sway how people vote and all that. You know, as if peers are Facebook adverts.
One interesting question is how are they going to frame the rules in a manner which doesn’t catch the Kinnocks and Mandelsons, those who very definitely are receiving foreign money on a regular basis? Their EU pensions:
Ministers are to launch a sweeping clean-up of public life in an effort to stem the tide of “red money” from Russia and China swirling through parliament, lobbying firms and the City. In a two-pronged assault on what some are calling “the new Cold War”, the government is backing a change in House of Lords rules to force peers to declare the full extent of their Russian and Chinese business interests.
Current rules are that those, say, in receipt of an EU pension do not have to declare this interest when speaking on a matter pertaining to the EU. Those in receipt of similar sums from other sources would have to so declare.
So, will this change now start to insist that they do?
One possible answer is that the EU is in fact “our government” and such a pension is no more declarable than that someone’s getting a civil service pension. Well, fair enough, and that stands as long as we’re actually in. But post-Brexit the EU is quite obviously a foreign power. So, the rules should be different, no?
Of course, they’re not going to be because hypocrisy knows no bounds. But we can still have fun repeatedly making the point, can’t we?