UNITED KINGDOM: According to reports, Evgeny Lebedev has attended less than 1% of House of Lords’ meetings since Boris Johnson elevated him to the peer level, making him one of the chamber’s ostensibly least active members during the previous three years.
According to attendance records, the wealthy newspaper owner and Johnson friend attended four times, or 1.25% of the total of 318 sittings since he officially entered the Lords in November 2019.
He is one of a number of his peers who don’t take advantage of the opportunity to formally quit the Lords while appearing to play a minimal role in the house proceedings.
The Lords operate differently than the Commons since many peers hold specialities or jobs requiring specialized knowledge outside the chamber. As a result, they frequently contribute the most when discussing their area of expertise.
There is a growing fear that there may be too many Lords members who will be nothing more than passengers, given that promises to cut the chamber’s 800-strong size have been hampered by a number of new peerages established by recent prime leaders.
According to attendance data, more peers have attended less than 20% of sittings so far this year—187—than the 152 peers who did so in 2020 and 164 peers who did so in 2021.
Anthony Bamford, an industrialist and Conservative contributor elevated to the peerage by David Cameron in 2013, has only made it to six Lords sessions since 2020, or around 4% of them. He has spoken five times during his nearly ten years in the home.
The cricketer Ian Botham, who was appointed a crossbench peer by Johnson at the same time as Lebedev, attended the chamber just twice this year after attending 61 times in 2020. He hasn’t spoken in the house in two years.
Some of their peers have other commitments that prevent them from attending the meetings. In the 43 years since he was appointed the Earl of Rosslyn as a hereditary peer in 1979, Peter St. Clair-Erskine has participated in five votes for Lords’ reform, made one speech, and cast one vote.
The job of master of the household for Charles as Prince of Wales and then as the king has been occupied for the past year by Lord St Clair-Erskine, a former senior police officer and royal assistant.
Jo Valentine has attended less than 2% of the 461 Lords sittings since 2020, a former corporate financier actively involved in community business organizations.