THE SNP’s Tommy Sheppard has called for the “political has-beens” in the House of Lords to be thrown into the “dustbin of history” after it was revealed that 22 new peers have been appointed in the last year.

There are now around 800 unelected Lords in Parliament, making it the second largest legislative chamber in the world. Only China’s National People’s Congress is bigger.

Of the 22 new peers, nine are Tories, three are Labour, five are cross-benchers, one is a member of the DUP and the other is non-affiliated.

The other three are Bishops.

For most peers, being elevated into the Lords is a job for life with members able to sit in the chamber well into their twilight years. Between January and December, 16 of its Members died.

The SNP would be eligible for a significant number of seats in the Lords, but choose not to take them out of principle.

Sheppard pointed out that during the reading of the EU Withdrawal Bill, unelected peers had the power to amend the Bill, including aspects on Scotland’s devolution settlement, whilst the will of the Scottish Parliament was ignored.

He said: “The idea of an unelected legislature in the 21st century is ridiculous enough, but for successive governments to continue to pile the Lords chamber full of chummy political appointments is inexcusable. The argument to consign this archaic and undemocratic chamber of political has-beens to the dustbin of history is long overdue.

“Last year, figures showed that each peer costs the taxpayer £83,000 per year, and since then no less than 22 Lords have been stuffed into the House. Whilst many households and families across the UK spend the festive season worrying how to pay their food and fuel bills, unelected peers enjoy a £300 tax-free daily allowance for as little as 45 minutes attendance.”

Earlier this year, the Commons debated scrapping the House of Lords after more than 150,000 people signed a petition calling for the chamber’s abolition.

Cabinet Office minister Chloe Smith told MPs it wasn’t a priority for the Government and there was little consensus on what should replace the current arrangement. The Lords has “an important role in scrutinising and revising legislation, and its members bring valuable experience and expertise to the matters that it considers,” she said.