IT would be an “insult” for the hereditary peer who was found to have breached the Lords’ code of conduct to only receive a brief suspension, an SNP MP has said.

Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, the “Earl of Shrewsbury”, approached UK ministers during the pandemic on behalf of a healthcare company which was paying him £3000 a month.

Chetwynd-Talbot, who had the Conservative whip until October, has a seat in the House of Lords by accident of birth. He is descended from John Talbot, a military commander from the Hundred Years’ War (which ended in 1453).

The peer was found in “clear breach” of the rules by looking “to profit from membership of the House”.

The National:

Chetwynd-Talbot took a total of £57,000 over 19 months to approach ministers, including then health secretary Matt Hancock, to promote the SpectrumX’s SpectriPOD walk-in disinfectant tunnel.

SNP president Michael Russell said on Twitter that the sort of “paid advocacy” which the hereditary peer has engaged in was “a criminal offence” for MSPs, adding: “It should be for members of every Parliamentary chamber, even the unelected.”

However, the Lords Conduct Committee only recommended that Chetwynd-Talbot – who it was concluded did not act with "deliberate" dishonesty – “be suspended from the service of the House for a period of nine months”.

He may escape punishment altogether if the Lords do not vote to approve the suspension.

READ MORE: UK Government launches legal action against Michelle Mone-linked PPE firm

The SNP’s constitution spokesperson, Tommy Sheppard MP, said that such a short punishment was “an insult to any sense of fairness”.

He told The National: “It is utterly appalling, yet unsurprising, that unelected peers have been lining their pockets by moonlighting in other roles. How many more have seen large sums of money find their way into their coffers without scrutiny?

“In the case of the Earl of Shrewsbury, who inherited his seat by right of birth, a nine-month suspension for pandemic profiteering is an insult to any sense of fairness.

“This antiquated bastion of cronyism, privilege and corruption highlights exactly why the House of Lords should have been scrapped centuries ago.

“Of course, independence for Scotland is the best way to get rid of this medieval anachronism, and undemocratic Westminster rule, once and for all.”

At the same time as Chetwynd-Talbot, Labour peer Mary Goudie was also found to have breached the rules prohibiting seeking profit from peerages – a charge she refutes.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has flip-flopped on a pledge to abolish the Lords While running to lead his party, Starmer pledged he would replace the Lords with “an elected chamber of regions and nations”. But in 2021 he refused to reiterate this pledge, instead only saying that the Lords “needs change”.

In November, he again pledged to abolish the Lords in an effort to “restore the trust of the public in every part of the United Kingdom in our system of government”.

Reports have suggested that Starmer could backtrack on this renewed pledge, instead promising only to reform the upper house.