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Peer pressure

Mone ‘retires’ from public speaking in new Lords twist

Michelle Mone Lords

Lady Mone at her swearing in

Lady Michelle Mone says she has retired from public speaking, adding a further twist to the controversy surrounding the House of Lords.

As the SNP calls for the peerage handed to millionaire Tory donor Lord Offord to be withdrawn, Lady Mone’s admission that she no longer intends to speak in public will intensify pressure for reform.

The Glasgow businesswoman was given her passage to the upper house by former prime minister David Cameron in 2015 but in those six years she has made just five speeches and submitted 22 written questions.

She told her Instagram followers: “I’ve spoken at some of the world’s biggest conferences alongside presidents and huge figures like Richard Branson and often get asked when my next speaking appearance will be.

“But, I’ve recently decided to step back and retire from public speaking to focus on my family and new ventures.”

Her spokeswoman confirmed she had ‘retired from public speaking’, while insisting to the Daily Record that “she will continue with her role as a Baroness.”

Peers are unsalaried but can claim a £300 daily attendance allowance. Lady Mone said she handed her fees from the Lords to charity.

Her decision to step back comes as the SNP calls for Scotland Office minister Malcolm Offord’s peerage to be revoked in light of the growing controversy over the Tory cash for honours scandal. 

Baron Offord, who has donated almost £150,000 to the Conservative Party, was given a life peerage by Tory leader Boris Johnson in October, after failing to get elected in the Scottish Parliament election in May.

Baron Offord: handed peerage after failing to get elected

He was also appointed as a UK government minister in the Scotland Office.

It was revealed this week that the Conservatives handed peerages to former party treasurers, although other parties have done the same thing.

Sixteen of the main Tory treasurers over the past two decades have been handed peerages – after donating millions of pounds to the Conservative party.

Since 2010, 22 of the party’s main financial donors have been given peerages after donating a combined £54 million. In addition, two Labour Party and five Liberal Democrat major donors have been handed peerages.

Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown is heading a commission looking at the future of political institutions.



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