A SCOTS MP has petitioned the House of Commons to abolish the unelected House of Lords - warning that it is one of only two parliamentary bodies in the world that reserves places for the clergy.

Patricia Gibson, the MP for North Ayrshire and Arran has formally presented the public petition pointing out that Iran is the only other sovereign state that give seats in its legislature to religious representatives as of right.

Iran styles its form of government as an 'Islamic republic'.

The petition calls for the abolition "in the interests of democracy, accountability and transparency".

In February the House of Lords sat 26 bishops appointed by the Church of England.

The Church of Scotland does not send representatives, having been excluded in 1689 when the church became doctrinally Presbyterian, which, left it without any bishops of its own. Neither Irish nor Welsh Anglican bishops now attend either.

It raises concerns at the number of peers who fail to speak in the Chamber and yet are able to claim expenses.

Analysis shows that the average life peer claimed £20,935 - including travel expenses - between April 2019 and February 2020 but only contributed to 12 debates, produced seven written questions and voted just 23 times.

HeraldScotland: Patricia Gibson MP, serious. (56027842)

Research found that 140 eligible peers took part in no debates in from April 2019 to February 2020. Neither could they reasonably claim to have participated by listening and voting rather than speaking: on average, those 140 peers voted ten times out of a possible 51.

For 48 of the 140, there is no record of them voting at all.

In 2016/2017 - 115 peers failed to make even one single aural contribution yet still claimed £1.3m between them.

Ms Gibson said: "To the House of Commons, this petition declares that the House of Lords is unrepresentative of and unaccountable to the general UK population, over which it makes decisions and casts votes on important legislative issues.

"It expresses concern that the recent creation of 36 new life peers, increasing the size of the House of Lords to nearly 800 members despite the UK Government's commitment to reducing the size of that legislature.

"It notes that the House of Lords is the largest parliamentary chamber of any democracy and further notes that the House of Lords is one of only two parliamentary bodies in the world with reserved places for members of the clergy.

"It further notes concern at the high proportion of members of the House of Lords, who were before their elevation, significant donors to political parties.

"The petitioners, therefore, request the House of Commons urges the government to abolish the House of Lords in the interests of democracy, accountability and transparency. "

The Institute for Government has said the cost of running the House of Lords surged from £99m in 2017-18 to £117.4million in 2018-19.

A large part of this increase has been attributed to a 27% rise in peers' allowances to £23.4million, predominantly because of the House sitting on more days.

The Electoral Reform Society (ERF), an independent campaigning organisation working to champion the rights of voters, has seen nearly 400,000 people sign its petition to replace the House of Lords - a huge jump from 170,000 at the end of July.

Humanists in Parliament have already called for the abolition of the Lords Spiritual and prayers before the start of business in both the House of Commons and House of Lords.

In a report published in Februray, Time For Reflection, the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG) argues that Parliament should have no part to play in the governance of the Church of England.

The petition will be sent to a government department and would normally receive a response within two months. Parliament's petitions committee oversees can recommend further action.