The 85 dukes, earls and barons who sit in Britain’s House of Lords by only birthright are no longer justified because they “devalue” democracy, two House of Lords speaker candidates said Sunday. The London Sunday Times reported that their own investigation showed that hereditary peers have cost taxpayers more than $70 million in the last 20 years, yet they have only spoken around 50 times in the last five years, often about personal interests or their own businesses. The “hereditaries,” as they are called, each claim nearly $450 a day in tax-free expenses. Calls to modernize the House of Lords by the speaker candidates point out that the 85 hereditary members are all white, wealthy men who together own 170,000 acres, around half the size of Greater London.
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