Expenses Cheats Lords Should Be Suspended From Parliament, Say Committee

Expenses Cheats Lords Should Be Suspended From Parliament, Say Committee

Two members of the House of Lords should be suspended for a year after mishandling their expenses, an internal committee has concluded.

Lord Hanningfield and Lord Taylor of Warwick both improperly claimed tens of thousands of pounds and were jailed earlier this year.

In January Tory peer Lord Taylor was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court on six counts of "furnishing false information" on expenses totalling £24,000. He was jailed in May for 12 months, yet released under licence after serving a quarter of this sentence.

In May Tory peer Lord Hanningfield was found guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court for the theft of £30,200 and jailed for nine months in July. He was released under licence on 8 September, after serving about a quarter of this sentence.

At the time of the two men being released many people arrested for the riots across England in August were being processed by the courts, and the peers' early release was contrasted with the allegedly unduly harsh sentences being handed down to the rioters.

Lord Taylor has since repaid the amount he falsely claimed in full. Lord Hanningfield is reported to have only paid back £1,800 but has told the Lords he intends to repay the full amount. The Lords committee has noted that Lord Hanningfield is "in difficult financial circumstances."

On Friday the House of Lords' Privileges and Conduct Committee recommended that both peers should be suspended from the chamber for the entire lengths of the sentences handed down to them by the courts. If their recommendations are accepted then the two peers wiil be able to return to the Lords exactly a year after each of them were sentenced.


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