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eBay Earl beats rap for punting Parliament tours

Ermine-clad tour guide is awfully sorry

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The 20th Earl of Caithness will not be punished for offering US tourists trips around the Palace of Westminster and the chance to meet "various colleagues" including the Speaker.

The House of Lords Commissioner for Standards Paul Kernaghan said the Earl had clearly breached the rules on use of Westminster facilities but he had apologised and promised not to do it again.

The Commissioner received two complaints about web advertisements which promised private tours of Westminster with Lord Caithness and a tour of the Scottish Parliament accompanied by a less grand Member of the Scottish Parliament.

The $11,000 tour would then visit assorted Scottish piles owned by or associated with Caithness.

The Earl, who pushed through Thatcher's hated Poll Tax, ended up cancelling the Attlee rooms which he had reserved for the tour because of lack of interest from US travellers. The ad, which appeared on R.Crusoe.com, has since disappeared.

The impoverished Earl explained to the Commissioner that the tours were arranged with an old chum with the aim of securing money for charity. He said the adverts had been changed without his knowledge and could have suggested he was set to gain from the trips.

More from the Commissioner here.

There's background at the Herald.

Thanks to the concerned Clansman who sent in a link to the original advert which Crusoe has kindly kept online here. ®

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