Poor old Brian Paddick, or Baron Paddick of Brixton as he's now known. For no real fault of his own he's managed to land in an epic storm about public expenses. His problems prove talk is not so cheap.
His misdemeanour? There isn't one. That's the funny thing.
A freedom of information request has managed to uncover the real costs to the public purse of the emergency debate on the state of Syria and bombing ISIS strongholds in September 2014.
That freedom of information request has found that Baron Paddick, a Liberal Democrat peer and former Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, incurred nearly £9,000 expenses when he opted to speak in the debate.
House of Lords Speech Incurs Costs
His decision to speak in the debate proves that talk is not so cheap when the Lords are involved.
It's all a matter of timing. And distance. And at the time of the debate the good Baron was in the USA. A long way away.
Committed to participating in the debate on behalf of the Lib Dems the unelected peer dutifully flew business class to return to London and speak in the debate...and then flew back to the USA to resume his holidays. Ah, the luxury.
There was no wrongdoing. That's clear. And Baron Paddick has gone to some lengths to make that clear. But what is equally clear is how the Lords manage to squeeze funds from the taxpayer in a quite extraordinary fashion.
The Baron spoke for four minutes, which was the maximum timing for any speech in the debate, using 446 words. You can do the maths. That's £20 a word or £2,224 a minute. These figures might make even Hillary Clinton public speaking fees seem affordable. But when someone else is paying the bill, it's amazing the distance some will go for a four minute speech.
If talk is cheap, then being silent is expensive. And many people it seems, can't afford to buy into it.
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