Meanwhile the ethics of some senior MPs, as well as lobbyists, have been called into question following another sting operation, this time by the Panorama team, in which the MPs were asked to represent Fiji to Parliament for payments.

Fiji was excluded from the Commonwealth in 2009 over its human rights record, but this didn’t stop Conservative MP for Newark, Patrick Mercer from agreeing to champion the lifting of their suspension for a four figure sum. Once exposed Mercer resigned.

Two days later two peers, Lord Cunningham and Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate were both suspended from the Labour Party after reportedly being filmed agreeing to take cash for asking questions in the House and influencing fellow MPs. They were caught out by reporters posing as lobbyists.

The unsavoury cases have earned the House of Lords the soubriquet “The swamp of sleaze”.

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