THE Scottish peers in the House of Lords “would struggle to be less representative” of the population north of the Border, according to new analysis.

Pulled together by SNP MP and constitutional affairs spokesperson Tommy Sheppard, a newly published report claims to reveal “the stark disconnect between Scotland’s representatives in the upper chamber and the population of Scotland as a whole”.

The report – Their Scottish Lordships: How the House of Lords Fails to Represent Scotland – said that around 78 of the Lords’ approximately 800 members could be classed as Scottish peers.

The majority of those Lords are privately educated men over the age of 65 – and all are opposed to independence.

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According to the report, only 22% of Scotland’s peers are women, while 68% are aged 65 or over. Only former Scottish Conservative leader Baroness Ruth Davidson is aged under 45.

The Conservatives hold 10% of Scotland’s seats in the Commons but account for 31% of Scotland’s peers. Meanwhile, Labour holds only one of Scotland’s 59 Commons seats, yet the party accounts for 32% of Scottish peers.

The Liberal Democrats hold 7% of Scotland’s seats in the Commons but account for 10% of Scotland’s peers in the Lords.

The SNP have a policy of not accepting seats in the Lords.

The report also identified 17 hereditary peers amongst Scotland’s 78, seven of which are Tory.

According to the analysis, the total expenses bill of Scotland’s 78 peers between September 2021 and September 2022 was £2,342,142.

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Seven Scottish peers have together claimed £78,907 of expenses for attending the House of Lords in a year despite not speaking in the chamber or asking a single written question.

The 78 Scottish peers identified in the report include members of the Lords with a Scottish connection, either because they themselves have spent most of their active life in Scotland or because they have a Scottish title.

Sheppard (below) said: “This report makes grim reading for advocates of democracy. It provides further evidence that the House of Lords fails at every level to give any semblance of representation or respect to the views, character and aspirations of the Scottish people.

“Over £2.3m was claimed in expenses and allowances by Scotland’s peers, despite some doing nothing in a year. The fact that this happened during a cost-of-living crisis shows just how dire the situation has become.

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“It’s unquestionably clear that efforts towards reform have failed, and with both Labour and the Tories committed to preserving the institution, the only realistic opportunity to dismantle the undemocratic Lords lies in wholesale change. It’s a core component of this broken Westminster system and ought to be abolished.

“Of course, the smarter answer would be to set up a new country and do it better. With the full powers of independence, we can draw up a modern constitution which inspires and represents our citizens. And in doing that, we can use the House of Lords as a template for what to avoid.”

A House of Lords spokesperson said: “Unlike MPs, members of the House of Lords are not paid a salary. Apart from reimbursing travel costs the daily allowance is the only financial support they receive for costs associated with attending the House, for members who live in Scotland this will include paying for overnight accommodation.

“MPs who live outside of London can claim financial support for accommodation on top of their salary.

“The House of Lords is a busy and effective revising Chamber. The allowances system is designed to ensure members from all parts of the UK, and a range of personal financial circumstances, can make an important contribution to improving legislation and holding the Government to account.

“Members of the Lords who live in Scotland may have higher travel costs than those living closer to London and it is important that they are not prevented from contributing their knowledge and experience to the important work of the House of Lords.”

You can read Sheppard’s full report here.