Tory peer in court over false accounting

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A former Tory peer appeared in court yesterday accused of false accounting after he was questioned over the parliamentary expenses scandal.

Lord Taylor of Warwick is alleged to have dishonestly claimed more than £24,300 in overnight subsistence and mileage claims.

He was summoned to face six charges at City of Westminster magistrate's court.

The first charge alleges that, around 31 March 2006, Lord Taylor dishonestly submitted claims for overnight subsistence and car mileage, stating that his main place of residence was outside London, when in fact he did live in the capital.

The subsequent charges allege that he made similar claims on 3 July 2006, 31 October 2006, 5 April 2007, 2 July 2007 and 31 October 2007.

Lord Taylor spoke only to confirm his address and date of birth. Eddie Tang, for the defence, said that his client intended to plead not guilty to the charges.

The district judge, Jeremy Coleman, granted him unconditional bail and ordered him to appear for a plea and case management hearing at Southwark Crown Court on 17 September.

Simon Clements, for the prosecution, said the six summonses referred to 16 claims made between March 2006 and October 2007 totalling £24,300.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, set up a panel of senior officers and solicitors in May 2009 to consider political expenses cases.

Lord Taylor, 57, whose full name is John David Beckett Taylor, became the first black Tory peer four years after unsuccessfully fighting the 1992 general election in Cheltenham. He has been a practising barrister, an adviser to cabinet ministers and a television presenter.

Lord Tebbit once predicted he would eventually become a cabinet minister.

He was born in Birmingham, the son of a professional cricketer and a nurse, both originally from Jamaica. His father played for Warwickshire and the West Indies.

Lord Taylor was called to the bar in 1978, joining the same chambers as Kenneth Clarke, the Tory cabinet minister. He later worked as an adviser to Home Office ministers.