Peter Truscott, Baron Truscott

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The Lord Truscott
Official portrait of Lord Truscott crop 2.jpg
Truscott in 2017
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy
In office
10 November 2006 28 June 2007
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Barry Gardiner
Succeeded by The Lord Triesman
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
10 June 2004
Life Peerage
Member of the European Parliament
for Hertfordshire
In office
9 June 1994 10 June 1999
Preceded by Derek Prag
Succeeded byconstituency abolished
Personal details
Born20 March 1959
Newton Abbot, Devon
Political party Independent Labour
Labour
Alma mater University of Oxford

Peter Derek Truscott, Baron Truscott (born 20 March 1959 in Newton Abbot, Devon), [1] is a British petroleum and mining consultant, independent member of the House of Lords and writer. He was a Labour Member of the European Parliament from 1994 to 1999 and was elevated to the peerage in 2004. He has written on Russia, defence and energy, and works with a variety of companies in the field of non-renewable resource extraction. Previously somewhat low-profile in British politics, he made headlines in 2009 as one of four Labour peers named by the Sunday Times as being willing to accept money to help companies amend bills that would have an adverse effect on them. [2] He consequently became one of the first peers suspended from the House of Lords since the 17th century.

Newton Abbot market town and civil parish in Devon, England

Newton Abbot is a market town and civil parish on the River Teign in the Teignbridge District of Devon, England, with a population of 25,556. It grew rapidly in the Victorian era as the home of the South Devon Railway locomotive works. This later became a major steam engine shed, retained to service British Railways diesel locomotives until 1981. It now houses the Brunel industrial estate. The town has a race course nearby, the most westerly in England, and has a country park, Decoy. It is twinned with Besigheim in Germany and Ay in France.

Devon County of England

Devon, also known as Devonshire, is a county of England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is part of South West England, bounded by Cornwall to the west, Somerset to the north east, and Dorset to the east. The city of Exeter is the county town. The county includes the districts of East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge, and West Devon. Plymouth and Torbay are each geographically part of Devon, but are administered as unitary authorities. Combined as a ceremonial county, Devon's area is 6,707 km2 and its population is about 1.1 million.

House of Lords upper house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers and domestically usually referred to simply as the Lords, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is granted by appointment or else by heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Officially, the full name of the house is the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.

Contents

Personal life

Truscott was educated at Exeter College, University of Oxford. He received a BA in modern history in 1981, followed by a DPhil in 1985. In 1991, he met and rapidly married Svetlana Chernikov, daughter of a Red Army colonel. By 2008, the couple owned a £1 million apartment in Mayfair, a flat in Bath and property in Russia. [3]

Exeter College, Oxford constituent college of the University of Oxford

Exeter College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England and the fourth oldest college of the University.

University of Oxford university in Oxford, United Kingdom

The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation after the University of Bologna. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two 'ancient universities' are frequently jointly called 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Oxford has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.

In February 2009, it was revealed that Truscott was, in line with House of Lords rules, classifying his small Bath flat as his main residence, thus entitling him to claim a £28,000 per year public subsidy of his £700,000 Mayfair flat. [4]

Political career

Political organiser and MEP

Upon completion of his doctorate, Truscott became a political organiser for the Labour Party (from 1986–1989), and a Councillor in Colchester (from 1988 to 1992). [5] He contested Torbay for the Labour Party in 1992, coming third with 5,503 votes (9.59%). [6] He then went on to represent Hertfordshire in the European Parliament from 1994 to 1999. He was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Security Sub-Committee, and the delegation for relations with the Russian Federation throughout his time in the European Parliament, and was also the UK Government's spokesperson on foreign affairs and defence in the Parliament from 1997 to 1999. [1]

A Councillor is a member of a local government council.

Torbay (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1974 onwards

Torbay is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2015 by Kevin Foster, a Conservative.

1992 United Kingdom general election election for members of the British House of Commons

The 1992 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 9 April 1992, to elect 651 members to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. The election resulted in the fourth consecutive victory for the Conservative Party since 1979 and the last time that the Conservatives would win a majority at a general election until 2015. This election result took many by surprise, as opinion polling leading up to the election day had shown the Labour Party, under leader Neil Kinnock, consistently, if narrowly, ahead.

Peerage

Having failed to win re-election to the European Parliament, [7] Truscott was created a life peer on 10 June 2004 as Baron Truscott, of St. James's in the City of Westminster. [8] From 2006 to 2007 he was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the DTI government spokesperson in the House of Lords. [9] Truscott is currently Parliamentary British Council Ambassador to the Russian Federation and republics of the former Soviet Union. He is a member of the House of Lords European Union Select Committee, Sub Committee C (Foreign Affairs, Defence and Development Policy). He was formerly a visiting research fellow with the Institute for Public Policy Research and an associate fellow of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies. [10]

In the United Kingdom, life peers are appointed members of the peerage whose titles cannot be inherited, in contrast to hereditary peers. In modern times, life peerages, always created at the rank of baron, are created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 and entitle the holders to seats in the House of Lords, presuming they meet qualifications such as age and citizenship. The legitimate children of a life peer are entitled to style themselves with the prefix "The Honourable", although they cannot inherit the peerage itself.

City of Westminster City and borough in London

The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough that also holds city status. It occupies much of the central area of Greater London including most of the West End. Historically in Middlesex, it is to the west of the ancient City of London, directly to the east of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and its southern boundary is the River Thames. The London borough was created with the 1965 establishment of Greater London. Upon its creation, it inherited the city status previously held by the smaller Metropolitan Borough of Westminster from 1900, which was first awarded to Westminster in 1540.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State junior minister in the government of the United Kingdom

A Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State is the lowest of three tiers of government minister in the government of the United Kingdom, immediately junior to a Minister of State, which is itself junior to a Secretary of State.

In 2007 Truscott made a speech to a coal industry conference in his capacity as a DTI minister restating the government's strong support for the continued use of coal in electricity generation, [11] a controversial policy opposed by scientists and campaigners such as climatologist James E. Hansen. [12] While in the House of Lords, Truscott was judged by the Public Whip to have voted "very strongly against" efforts to strengthen the Climate Change Act 2008, opposing all of the following: the target of an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050, the aim to prevent warming of more than 2 °C (the figure most commonly cited in discussions about avoiding runaway climate change), making the UK's annual statement on emissions the responsibility of the Prime Minister, and reporting on the international impact of the UK's emissions. [13] He has also voted "strongly for" the Identity Cards Act 2006. [14]

The Public Whip is a parliamentary informatics project that analyses and publishes the voting history of MPs in the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Climate Change Act 2008 United Kingdom legislation

The Climate Change Act 2008 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act makes it the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the net UK carbon account for all six Kyoto greenhouse gases for the year 2050 is at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline, toward avoiding dangerous climate change. The Act aims to enable the United Kingdom to become a low-carbon economy and gives ministers powers to introduce the measures necessary to achieve a range of greenhouse gas reduction targets. An independent Committee on Climate Change has been created under the Act to provide advice to UK Government on these targets and related policies. In the act Secretary of State refers to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

Identity Cards Act 2006 United Kingdom legislation

The Identity Cards Act 2006 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that was repealed in 2010. It created national identity cards, a personal identification document and European Union travel document, linked to a database known as the National Identity Register (NIR), which has since been destroyed.

In 2016 he came out in favour of Britain leaving the European Union.

Involvement with energy and mining firms

Truscott became a consultant and non-executive director working mainly with non-renewable resource extraction and public affairs companies throughout Europe and Russia. [15] He developed a client list including Eastern Petroleum Corporation, controlled by the controversial Frank Timiş and another Timiş outfit: African Minerals, [16] Gavin Anderson and Company, Opus Executive Partners, Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd, African Minerals Ltd, Landis & Gyr and his own consultancy firm, Energy Enterprises Ltd. [17] Together with his wife, he bought 1,000,000 shares in Gulf Keystone Petroleum, which they bought in September 2008 at 20.75p per share, [18] selling half of these in April 2010 for 85.22 pence per share. [18] He additionally owns shares above the £50,000 registration minimum [19] in African Minerals Ltd. [20]

Corruption allegations

In January 2009 Truscott was the subject of corruption allegations in the Sunday Times , along with three of his Labour colleagues. He was accused of seeking a £72,000 fee to help two people posing as lobbyists "amend a government bill that was harmful to their client", saying he would have to "be a ‘bit careful’ and could not table the amendment himself." He also claimed to have "done similar work before" on a recent piece of energy legislation, [2] and met officials from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform shortly before the Government changed its policy in a manner favourable to his client, Landis & Gyr. [21] His response to the BBC was: "to suggest I would offer to put down amendments for money is a lie". [22] It was subsequently alleged that he had lobbied UK energy Minister Malcolm Wicks without declaring his financial interests. [23]

Following the publication of the allegations, and video and audio tape of Truscott talking to under-cover Sunday Times reporters, he was forced to resign a consultancy for Landis & Gyr [24] and was suspended from his consultancy for Gavin Anderson and Company. [23] He resigned his directorship of African Minerals in August 2009, [25] retaining a remunerated role as a strategic consultant. [20] Both Opus Executive Partners and Gulf Keystone decided not to suspend or remove Truscott despite considerable pressure from the media to do so, both citing valuable contribution and integrity in his involvement with them.

The Lords Privileges Committee subsequently recommended (on 14 May) that Lord Truscott be suspended from the House. The investigation into the allegations concluded Lord Truscott had broken rules on exercising parliamentary influence in return for money by agreeing to "smooth the way" for lobbyists, make introductions to other peers and ministers and to lobby officials. In a BBC interview on 14 May, Lord Truscott stated that "I apologise for being entrapped and for using loose language". On 20 May the House of Lords considered the Privileges Committee report and voted to suspend Lord Truscott and Lord Taylor of Blackburn for six months, the first such action since the 17th century. [26]

In May 2009, it was alleged that the small flat in Bath that Lord Truscott calls his main residence was unoccupied and looked deserted. [27] Classifying this flat as his main residence had entitled him to claim an annual £28,000 per year public subsidy of his £700,000 Mayfair flat, [4] amounting to £125,000 over four years. [28]

He resigned from the Labour Party in May 2009, [29] and now sits as a non-affiliated member of the House of Lords.

Bibliography

See also

Arms

Coat of arms of Peter Truscott, Baron Truscott
Adopted
2008
Coronet
Coronet of a Baron
Crest
A demi double-headed Eagle displayed Sable holding in each beak Or a Quill Argent spined Or
Escutcheon
Sable two Pallets nebuly Argent between six pairs of Keys bows interlaced the three in chief wards downwards and outwards those in base wards upwards and outwards Or
Supporters
On the dexter side a Bear Or gorged with a Coronet Argent in the mouth a Rose Or slipped and leaved Argent on the sinister a Lion Or gorged with a Coronet Argent in the mouth a Sprig of Birch also Argent
Motto
COGITA PISCEM
Symbolism
The Arms are based on those of Exeter College, Oxford, which have been blazoned as Argent two Bends nebuly within a Bordure Sable charged with eight pairs of Keys endorsed and interlaced in the rings Or. Russia and England are reflected in the Supporters, the grantee's wife being of Russian origin. Russia is again reflected with the double-headed eagle and the Caribbean with the sailfish Badge

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References

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  2. 1 2 "Whispered over tea and cake: price for a peer to fix the law". Sunday Times. London. 25 January 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2010. he agreed to help them amend a government bill that was harmful to their client, in return for cash. He said he had done similar work before. He said he had intervened on the Energy Bill — a piece of legislation he had been responsible for as a minister only months earlier.
  3. Walters, S., Owen, G. and Stewart, W. (31 January 2009). "Revealed: The secret Soviet past of sleaze peer Truscott". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 31 January 2009.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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