POLITICS

Disgraced Peers Could Be Banned From Parliament

14/12/2011 12:17

Disgraced peers who fail to repay wrongly claimed expenses are set to be barred from returning to Parliament.

The House Committee of the Lords has recommended closing a loophole that allows members with outstanding debts to come back to work.

However, it has ruled out pursuing individuals through the courts - suggesting judges would refuse to interfere in a parliamentary dispute.

The move is likely to affect peers such as Baroness Uddin - who owes £125,000 but under the present arrangements could resume her seat when her six-month suspension ends.

Lord Hanningfield, who was jailed for nine months over his claims, is struggling to repay £28,000 but could theoretically return in the spring.

Under the plans - expected to be rubber-stamped by the House next week - when peers have not handed back cash in full, a vote will be held a month before their suspension is due to end.

The motion will call for the member to be suspended for the rest of the Parliament, or until they have repaid.

However, another vote will be needed after the following general election, because the Lords does not have the power to suspend individuals indefinitely.

The suspension would be lifted the day after the peer settles the debt in full.

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