Eco peer who runs oligarch's metals firm pollutes House of Lords rules

What brass! Eco peer who runs oligarch’s giant metals firm pollutes House of Lords rules

Lord Barker of Battle took a break from running oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s giant metals firm last week to deliver a speech entitled Making More From Less for an elite think-tank.

And few have been able to make more from less than the Lord, who as Greg Barker leveraged a brief career in David Cameron’s Government into a life peerage, followed by a £6 million pay check (and counting) from Soviet-born Deripaska’s company EN+.

Mere seconds into the speech, he mentioned his past job as climate change Minister, reminding his audience that the revolving door from government into big business is working well even in a global pandemic. The Tory peer talked at length about his ‘eco agenda’ and environmental credentials, which he presumably first developed while working for Russian oil giant Sibneft.

Credentials he put to good use in his Government department where he used the staff microwave to heat a cushion for his dachshund, Otto.

Lord Barker of Battle took a break from running oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s giant metals firm last week to deliver a speech entitled Making More From Less for an elite think-tank

Barker’s eye for innovation later helped manoeuvre Deripaska, a chum of Vladimir Putin, out of having a controlling stake in EN+ soon after the oligarch found his way on to the US sanctions list. When Barker was made executive chairman of the aluminium firm in 2019 he took a voluntary ‘leave of absence’ from the House of Lords, meaning he cannot vote, debate or sit in the Upper Chamber, but keeps his title and use of the dining rooms.

He categorically cannot give the impression of being an active member. Funny, then, that his website says ‘He now sits in the House of Lords as the Rt Hon the Lord Barker of Battle’, while his speech biogs make much of his title and no mention that his parliamentary career is on a principled hiatus. It means he’s found a way of advertising himself as a sitting Lord without having to listen to ex-colleagues drone on in God’s Waiting Room – while also being exempt from its rules on registering interests.

Thumbs up for spitting Priti…

Grumblings overheard in the corridors of power over the Spitting Image portrayal, left, of Priti Patel as a bloodthirsty vampire and dominatrix cracking the whip over Michael Gove. One Minister tells me: ‘While people are saying it’s unfair to portray her as a demon, it sounds entirely accurate to me!’ 

Grumblings overheard in the corridors of power over the Spitting Image portrayal, left, of Priti Patel as a bloodthirsty vampire and dominatrix cracking the whip over Michael Gove

Party-poopers have taken over Hansard, once the unparalleled record for every word uttered in Parliament.

First they airbrushed Lord Bethell’s ‘for f***’s sake!’, emitted while the Minister struggled to unmute himself on video link. And now Sir Desmond Swayne’s bellowing that Boris Johnson is under the control of ‘Dr Strange Glove’ has been corrected to Dr Strange-love to spare his blushes.

Serious questions are emerging over when the SNP discovered Margaret Ferrier’s decision to leave a slug-like Covid trail from Glasgow to London and back again.

The SNP said its whips learned of their MP testing positive for the virus on Wednesday afternoon, with Commons authorities informed soon after.

Reports also said the whips initially thought she went home for family reasons.

On Monday, when she found out she was positive, Ferrier asked to be paired with a proxy to excuse herself from attending Parliament.

Commons records now reveal the reason she gave was: ‘For medical or public health reasons related to the pandemic.’ It’s amazing no one thought to ask her what they were. And her chosen proxy? The SNP’s Chief Whip Patrick Grady.  

Serious questions are emerging over when the SNP discovered Margaret Ferrier’s decision to leave a slug-like Covid trail from Glasgow to London and back again

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