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Sunday, February 15, 2009

More trouble in the House of Lords.

Today's Independent on Sunday reports:

A Labour peer caught up in the "lords-for-hire" affair asked a government minister to arrange a meeting with his client, after her department rejected its controversial plans for a £400m gas storage plant.

Lord Taylor of Blackburn approached Baroness Andrews in October 2007 to ask if the American firm Canatxx could meet the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), following the rejection of the plans for an underground facility in Fleetwood, Lancashire. Less than two months later, Canatxx representatives met DCLG "policy officials" to discuss government policy on gas storage facilities. The firm has since resubmitted the planning application and has expressed confidence that the proposal will be accepted.

The episode lifts the lid on the remarkably direct contact between a minister and a peer acting for a client, in one of the most sensitive areas of government.

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