Expenses peer Lord Hanningfield 'did work of four'
Tuesday 24 May 2011
A Tory peer accused of expenses fraud told a court "I did the work of four frontbenchers" as he said he justified his claims.
Cross-examined at Chelmsford Crown Court, Lord Hanningfield was asked why he had claimed £27,000 to pay an assistant whose salary was in fact £12,000.
He said members of the House of Commons had been able to claim £130,000 a year for staffing costs but there was no such allowance for those in the House of Lords. He said he claimed extra in some expenses categories to mitigate for losses in others.
Lord Hanningfield said: "I was doing the job of four frontbenchers. On transport for example I was doing far more than you would in the House of Commons."
Asked if he made claims for journeys and accommodation in London on dates when he was in Essex because he felt the system was unfair, he answered: "I did it because all the other peers were doing it. I do know other peers who made similar claims but I will not name them."
He produced a biscuit tin which he claimed was full of receipts for meals and other expenses, mostly dating to 2003/4, which he could have claimed but did not.
"If you keep in mind that I have had a 40 year career, it adds up to tens of thousands of pounds," he said. "I kept them because I thought one day I might get round to claiming them."
He added: "I do not lead an extravagant lifestyle. Most of my clothes are from Marks & Spencer. I enjoy the occasional glass of wine but that's about it.
"I have no savings, no stocks and shares, nothing like that."
The former Lords opposition frontbencher and Essex County Council leader is alleged to have fraudulently claimed parliamentary expenses for hotels in London between March 2006 and April 2009 when he did not in fact stay overnight in the capital.
Lord Hanningfield, 70, who denies six counts of false accounting, earlier told the court he "quite honestly assumed" he could claim the maximum amount after learning that this was what 85% of peers did.
The peer, from West Hanningfield, near Chelmsford, said he saw the money as a "living out of London allowance" rather than overnight subsistence.
Prosecution and defence speeches will be delivered tomorrow. The jury is expected to retire on Thursday.
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Jennifer Lawrence 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to be published
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say singer's representatives
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127