Former Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby claimed more than £20,000 in allowances and expenses from the House of Lords over the course of a year – but did not make a single speech.
Parliamentary records show that Lord Whitby failed to take part in debates or ask any questions during this period.
He is one of a number of peers accused of being part of a “something for nothing” culture.
Campaigners called for the number members of the House of Lords, known as peers, to be cut. Darren Hughes, of the Electoral Reform Society, said: “Huge amounts of money are going to the people who contribute the least. This is an outrageous situation.”
But Lord Whitby said he planned to speak up more, particularly as he has a new role chairing Made in The Midlands, a group which backs the region’s manufacturing base.
He said: “I will be speaking as often as I can about the importance of manufacturing to the continued success of the United Kingdom.”
Members of the House of Lords are not paid a salary, but can claim a daily allowance of up to £300 for each day they attend. They can choose to receive the full amount, a reduced daily allowance of £150, or nothing at all. They can also claim travel expenses.
Figures published by the Parliamentary authorities show Lord Whitby claimed £15,600 in allowances in the 12 months from the start of May 2016 to the end of April 2017. These are the most recent figures available.
And he claimed £4,926 in travel expenses in the same period. It means that in total he receive £20,526.
But the Conservative peer, who led Birmingham City Council from 2004 to 2012, has not spoken in the House of Lords since January 22 2015, when he took part in a debate about local government funding.
In that speech, he called on the Government to allow major cities such as Birmingham to have more control over how money was spent.
Records show Lord Whitby took part in votes, and voted 57 times in the 2016-17 Parliamentary session.
But he’s not the only peer to claim expenses while remaining quiet in the Lords Chamber.
Former CBI Director General Digby Jones, a cross-bench peer as Lord Jones of Birmingham, claimed allowances of £10,800 and travel expenses of £3,291 in the 12 months from May 2016 to April 2017.
The last time he spoke in the Lords was on April 11 2016, when he urged the government to ensure new warships were built using British steel.
Lord Jones voted three times in the 2016-17 Parliamentary session.
Research from the Electoral Reform Society found that Peers from across the country who haven’t spoken in the Lords for an entire year have claimed nearly £1.3 million in expenses and allowances,
It found 115 Lords – one in seven of the total – failed to speak at all in the 2016/17 session, despite claiming an average of £11,091 each, while 18 peers failed to vote but still claimed £93,162.
A spokesman for the House of Lords said that speaking in the Chamber was only one way that members of the House of Lords contributed to the nation.
He said: “The Electoral Reform Society’s calculations are undermined by their narrow focus on spoken contributions.
"Speaking in the Chamber is only one of the ways Members hold the government to account and this research ignores members’ contributions including amending legislation, asking the government written questions and serving on Select Committees as well as Parliamentary work away from the Chamber.”
Mr Hughes, the Electoral Reform Society’s chief executive, said: “These figures are a damning indictment of the state of the House of Lords. There appears to be a growing ‘something for nothing’ culture in our upper house, with tidy sums being claimed by those who barely contribute.
“And there are a worrying number of couch-potato peers and lobby-fodder Lords at a time when there is plenty to scrutinise – ostensibly the upper chamber’s role.”
He called for a reduction in the number of members of the House of Lords. There are currently almost 800 peers.
“We need to move to a much smaller upper chamber – one that is properly accountable – so that the Lords is no longer seen as a retirement home for party donors but something fit for the Mother of all Parliaments.”
Lord Fowler, the Lords Speaker and former MP for Sutton Coldfield in Birmingham, has previously suggested that the size of the House of Lords should be reduced.