SCOTTISH peers are sitting in the first-class seats of the House of Lords gravy train, according to new research.

Unelected Labour, Tory and LibDem peers are raking it in – with some even claiming thousands of pounds despite never speaking.

Analysis by The Sunday Times found that the cost of peers’ expenses and daily attendance allowance rose by 29% in the year to last March to £23 million.

Though a spokesman for the House of Lords claimed that was because of an increase in the number of sitting days.

Peers are currently paid a daily rate of £313 tax-free for signing in and certifying that they are carrying out parliamentary work – though this is soon jumping up by an inflation-busting 3.1% to £323.

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They can also claim travel expenses for themselves and family members.

Eight of the 20 biggest silent claimants were Scottish peers.

The Scottish peer with the biggest bill in 2018-19 was former First Minister Jack McConnell.

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He claimed £68,781 for attending 149 sessions of the Lords and spoke 30 times in the chamber.

His former deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen wasn’t far behind. He claimed £62,167 for attending 136 sessions, though he only managed to speak four times.

Stephen’s party colleague, Malcolm Bruce, the former MP for Gordon, was far more productive. He claimed £66,776 for attending 151 sessions, speaking 52 times.

In terms of cash-per-word, Labour’s Lord Foulkes is the undisputed champ. He claimed £62,137 for 133 appearances and 255 contributions to debate.

His party colleague Irene Adams, the former MP for Paisley North, charged the taxpayer £52,252 for 120 attendances. She made no spoken contribution.

She was one of more than 110 peers who did not make any spoken or written contribution to the House of Lords during the period.

Tory peer Michelle Mone raked in £12,200 for just 44 appearances. She has spoken just twice.

It comes as the next round of peerages is expected to bring the total number of lords to 834, the highest since hereditary peers were cut in 1999.

Boris Johnson has already said he plans on ennobling Ruth Davidson and Tory donors Peter Cruddas and Michael Spencer.

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The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has put forward eight candidates for peerages, including Karie Murphy, his former chief of staff, and his former deputy leader, Tom Watson.

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The SNP don’t take their seats in the House of Lords.

Tommy Sheppard, who recently published a report on Scotland’s representation in the upper chamber, said the Lords had “absolutely no place in a modern democracy” as allowing “the Westminster parties to reward selfish donors, cronies and politicians rejected by the voters completely erodes trust in our politics. “

He added: “Allowing peers to profit from their status, without any accountability to the taxpayers who pay for them to live the high-life, is completely undemocratic.

“The House of Lords is quickly becoming a national embarrassment.

“The sooner this undemocratic, out-of-touch institution is abolished, the better.”

Willie Sullivan, a senior director at the Electoral Reform Society, told the Times that the unelected Lords were “taking advantage of the lack of scrutiny in the upper chamber.”

He added: “The Lords is a rolling expenses scandal — and we’ll see this year after year unless there is reform.”

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Donald Dewar’s former spin-doctor James Gordon made no spoken contributions and yet claimed £53,914 in daily allowances and expenses, including more than £2000 on taxis.

However, the former boss of Scottish Radio Holdings told the paper he was on the select committee on communications, and “spoke almost every week.”

Lord Bruce said his high expenses were due to travelling from Aberdeenshire each week. “I get one return flight, but they are expensive,” he said.

“The House of Lords is highly London-centric.”

A spokesperson for the Lords insisted they were ”busy and effective”. They said: “The increase in the costs of House of Lords allowances in the 2018/19 financial year is largely due to a 25% increase in the number of days that the House sat, rising from 129 in 2017/18 to 161 in 2018/19.”