Peter Truscott, Baron Truscott
Peter Derek Truscott, Baron Truscott (born 20 March 1959 in Newton Abbot, Devon) 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. He consequently became one of the first peers suspended from the House of Lords since the 17th century.
Truscott was educated at Exeter College, University of Oxford. He received a BA in modern history in 1981, followed by an 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.
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.
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). He contested Torbay for the Labour Party in 1992, coming third with 5,503 votes (9.59%). 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.
Having failed to win re-election to the European Parliament, Truscott was created a life peer on 10 June 2004 as Baron Truscott, of St. James's in the City of Westminster. 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. 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.
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, a controversial policy opposed by scientists and campaigners such as the pioneering climatologist James E. Hansen. 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. He has also voted "strongly for" the Identity Cards Act 2006.
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. He developed a client list including Eastern Petroleum Corporation, controlled by the controversial Frank Timiş and another Timiş outfit: African Minerals, Gavin Anderson and Company, Opus Executive Partners, Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd, African Minerals Ltd, Landis & Gyr and his own consultancy firm, Energy Enterprises Ltd. 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, selling half of these in April 2010 for 85.22 pence per share. He additionally owns shares above the £50,000 registration minimum in African Minerals Ltd.
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, 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. His response to the BBC was: "to suggest I would offer to put down amendments for money is a lie". It was subsequently alleged that he had lobbied UK energy Minister Malcolm Wicks without declaring his financial interests.
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 and was suspended from his consultancy for Gavin Anderson and Company. He resigned his directorship of African Minerals in August 2009, retaining a remunerated role as a strategic consultant. 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. 
In May 2009, it was alleged that the small flat in Bath that Lord Truscott calls his main residence was unoccupied and looked deserted. 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, amounting to £125,000 over four years.
- Russia First: Breaking with the West (1997)
- European Defence (2000) (published by the Institute for Public Policy Research)
- Kursk: Russia’s Lost Pride (2002)
- Putin's Progress (2004)
- The Ascendancy of Political Risk Management and its Implications for Global Security and Business (2006) (published by the Royal United Services Institute)
- European Energy Security: Facing a Future of Increasing Dependency? (published by the Royal United Services Institute)
- Cash-for-questions affair, a political corruption scandal of the 1990s involving Conservative Members of Parliament
- The other Labour peers accused of corruption by the Sunday Times in 2009: Baron Moonie, Baron Snape, Baron Taylor
- "Your MEPs: Peter TRUSCOTT". European Parliament. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
- "Whispered over tea and cake: price for a peer to fix the law". Sunday Times. London. 25 January 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
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.
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While the Energy Minister may change, the message doesn’t: and that message is that the Government firmly believes that coal will continue to have a significant role as part of a diverse, balanced energy supply portfolio for the UK.
- Hansen, James (10 September 2008). "Expert witness testimony at climate-change–related trial in Kent" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-01-26.
Construction of new coal-fired power plants makes it unrealistic to hope for the prompt phase-out of coal emissions and thus makes it practically impossible to avert climate disasters for today’s young people and future generations.
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- Robert Winnett & Gordon Rayner (2009-01-30). "Lords fiasco: Lord Truscott's meetings with minister and officials". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-02-14.
- "Police 'should probe Lords case'". BBC. 25 January 2009.
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- Watt, Nicholas (29 January 2009). "Lord Truscott stands down as energy company adviser". Guardian. London. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
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