Page last updated at 09:19 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 10:19 UK

Peer turns fire on BBC presenter

Labour peer Lord Foulkes and BBC presenter Carrie Gracie clash over expenses and salaries

A Labour peer turned on a BBC presenter demanding to know how much she was paid during a live interview on MP expenses.

Lord Foulkes clashed with Carrie Gracie on the BBC News Channel after she asked if MPs who had abused their expenses should pay the money back.

He accused the media of ignoring the good work MPs did and demanded to know how much she was paid.

Told it was £92,000 a year, he said she was being paid "nearly twice as much an MP - to come on and talk nonsense".

He added that BBC presenters such as John Humphrys and Jeremy Paxman were paid hundreds of thousands of pounds "to come on TV and sneer at democracy and undermine democracy".

"The vast majority of MPs are being undermined by you," he said.

Lord Foulkes was appearing on the BBC News channel to defend Commons Speaker Michael Martin's role in the ongoing row about MPs' expenses.

He said there were "far more important things going on in the world" - but became agitated when Ms Gracie asked why Mr Martin had tried to block the publication of expenses.

"The intention always has been to publish this. Perhaps one of these days you'll do a thing about how much the BBC is being paid. We're paying hundreds of thousands of pounds for presenters who come on three days a week."

Ms Gracie tried to ask another question and apologised for interrupting, prompting the Labour peer to tell her: "You're not at all sorry to interrupt me - every time an MP comes on you constantly harass them. How much are you being paid?"

Lord Foulkes, a former Scotland Office minster, is the only member of the House of Lords to also sit in the Scottish Parliament. He stood down as an MP in 2005.

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