Lord Taylor Of Warwick - Why I Want To Return To The Lords

Expenses Cheat Peer On Why He Wants To Return To Lords After Suspension

Disgraced peer Lord Taylor of Warwick has been explaining why he wants to return to the House of Lords when his suspension for expenses crimes is lifted. The Tory peer was jailed for 12 months in May for fraudulently claiming more than £11,000 in expenses but was released from prison having served just a third of his sentence.

Last week the House of Lords accepted a recommendation that Lord Taylor be suspended from Parliament until next May, the date at which he would have served the full length of his sentence.

But speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live on Sunday night, the peer defended his conduct, blaming the "vague" rules surrounding expenses in the House of Lords, and saying he should be allowed to return to politics.

"David Cameron is on-record saying everyone deserves a second chance, I don't think that should just apply to Andy Coulson," he told John Pienaar.

Although he said that since his conviction he'd had time to reflect, and accepted that he was wrong, he said he thought his expenses claims were within the rules, which according to him are "very vague and change all the time.

"Clearly something was wrong with the rules because I thought I was within the rules. Even now the definition of main residence is that you have to visit the premises once a month."

But in an indication that he would be returning to Parliament, he said: "I've apologised and want to make amends by doing good work in public life."

Currently there is no obvious mechanism for peers to be stripped of their titles, except if they commit acts of treason. Several members of the House of Lords jailed for criminal offences in the past have come under pressure to renounce their peerages.

Speaking of his time in jail, during which he shared a cell with expenses cheat MP Eliot Morley, Lord Taylor said "It's not Butlins, but what surprised me was the kindness of many of the prisoners."

He suggested that too many offenders were being locked up, saying: "The prison population is nearly 88,000. We're nearly full. I think there are other ways of dealing with offenders. We have to do more, think more creatively than simply locking people away."


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