House of Lords Sleaze Probe
One of the peers being reported to the police in the ‘cash
for amendments’ scandal is Baroness Coussins, the former director of
the alcohol industry’s Portman Group.
The former chief executive of the Portman Group, an
organisation funded by the drinks industry “to promote responsible
behaviour”, was ennobled in 2007. She now runs her own consultancy
company which has represented clients from the “food and drinks
industries”. However, she does not declare the firm’s clients on the
Lords’ register of interests.
She is now accused of tabling 27 amendments to a private
member’s bill on alcohol promotion. The peer attempted to block new
proposals warning pregnant women of the risk of drinking alcohol.
Baroness Coussins argued that the present system was adequate. She
denies having discussed her intervention with her clients.
Source Daily Telegraph 2 February 2009
Baroness Coussins has responded to the accusations in a letter to the Financial Times, available here.