‘Sleazy Government’ Andrew Marr explodes at Environment chief Eustice in BBC row

Andrew Marr accuses Tory government of ‘sleazy’ behaviour

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BBC’s Andrew Marr tore into George Eustice following the recent Owen Paterson lobbying scandal and reports the Conservatives are rewarding wealthy party donors with House of Lord peerages. Mr Marr attacked Mr Eustice and demanded he answer to the public who are now seeing the Conservatives as a “sleazy government”. Mr Eustice deflected the “cash for peerages” story, arguing instead those donors were “philanthropists” whose expertise was much needed in the House of Lords.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, Mr Eustice was asked to address findings that many Conservative treasurers have been offered peerages in the House of Lords.

Mr Marr put to the Environment Secretary: “In the past 20 years, all 16 of the Conservative Party’s main treasurers, apart from the most recent, have been offered a seat in the House of Lords.

“Do you understand why many people will look at that and say this is a sleazy government?”

Mr Eustice dismissed suggestions of sleaze.

He retorted: “I don’t actually, these people will be philanthropists in every case…”

Mr Marr interrupted and said these “philanthropists” were all supporters of the Conservative Party and wanted Mr Eustice to answer for their link between their party support and House of Lords seats.

Mr Eustice continued: “Well, they’re philanthropists who give huge amounts to charity, who would be very successful in business and therefore on those grounds ought to be considered for the Lords.

“And, in addition, the fact that they have been engaged with political parties, whether that’s Labour or Conservative Party.

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“People like that have an interest in politics, they are philanthropists, they’ve made a great contribution to public life.

“And in many cases, they’ve got a lot of expertise in business that is valuable to the House of Lords.”

The Sunday Times report claims the Conservative Party is offering seats in the House of Lords to wealthy benefactors of the party.

The report claims rich donors “appear to be guaranteed a peerage if they take on the temporary role as the party treasurer and increase their own donations beyond £3million”.

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It also said 22 of the Tories’ main financial donors have been offered seats since 2010.

The story also comes amid reports claiming a peerage for Owen Paterson, who stepped down over breaching lobbying rules, has not been ruled out.

On the Andrew Marr Show, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer stated “change” needed to happen in the House of Lords but refused to say if he would support abolishing the chamber.

In 2019, Sir Keir laid out ten pledges, which included replacing the House of Lords with an elected chamber.

The Labour leader downplayed the commitment when grilled by Mr Marr, stating former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was looking into the situation.

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