The Price of Dishonour

Democracy
Saturday, July 22, 2006

The correlation between making large donations to the Labour Party and receiving an honour is extraordinary. Statistical analysis shows that 58.54% of all donors giving more than £50,000 to the Labour Party receive an honour. This compares to just 0.035% of non-donors. Large Labour Party donors are 1,657 times more likely to receive an honour than a non-donor and 6,969 times more likely to receive a peerage. It is almost impossible to avoid the conclusion that the Labour Party has been selling honours, including places in the House of Lords. An analysis of all donations over £50,000 since 2001 reveals that Honour certainly has its price. Here, we publish the average amount donated by the recipients of various honours - an "Honours Price List". Those receiving a Peerage have given £1.07 million on average, and a Knighthood £747,000. A CBE is £675,000 and an OBE £552,000.  Compared to the prices Lloyd George was charging, Labour is currently charging less for peerages, but more for OBEs. In today's money, Lloyd George charged £1.9m million for a peerage, and just £3,800 for an OBE.  Urgent reform is needed. Distribution of Honours should be placed in the hands of an Independent Honours Commission, who apply published criteria. The House of Lords in its current form should be scrapped, and replaced with a Senate which is partly elected and partly appointed by the Independent Honours Commission.