Former Ukip leader Lord Pearson demands more seats for the party in Lords

Lord Pearson of Rannoch has accused the government of dishonesty in a fresh demand for more Ukip peers

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Indy Politics

The former leader of Ukip has issued a fresh demand for more peers as Nigel Farage's party seeks a stronger foothold in Parliament after its performance in the European elections.

Ukip's Lord Pearson of Rannoch accused the government of “dishonesty” for not allowing the party not to have a greater representation in the upper chamber than the three current members, who all defected from the Tories.

An analysis by University College London has suggested Ukip would need 23 more peers under the Government's policy of making the composition of the Lords better reflect the share of the vote gained by parties in the last general election set out in the coalition agreement.

The coalition agreement, setting out the basis for Ukip's claim, states that "Lords appointments will be made with the objective of creating a second chamber that is reflective of the share of the vote secured by the political parties in the last general election".

Lord Pearson, who led Ukip during a brief stint in 2010, has written to the Cabinet Office to ask for more members of the party to join him on the House of Lords' red benches, in his latest attempt to persuade ministers of the need for action.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today: "Our democracy requires that we have more than three peers in the House of Lords when we're getting 27 per cent of the vote in the latest national election. I mean it is transparently dishonest.

"It is dishonest for over a period of four years to go on saying we're going to do this and then making it perfectly clear that we've no intention of it."

The letter to the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude is the latest attempt by Lord Pearson to persuade ministers of the need for action.

In March last year Lord Pearson wrote to David Cameron suggesting "half a dozen" extra peers as a compromise and then in a handwritten addition pleaded for "some, anyway?".

A response signed by a Downing Street correspondence officer told him the letter was "under consideration".

Following May 2013's local elections, Lord Pearson wrote again and in a handwritten amendment added "they would support the Government, most of the time".

He said that would no longer apply.