Tory peer is sixth politician to face criminal charges over expenses

Lord Taylor of Warwick, a prominent Tory peer, is to be prosecuted over his expenses, the Crown Prosecution Service announced yesterday.

Lord Taylor, 57, was a rising star of the Conservative Party in the early 1990s, when he was a government special adviser, a parliamentary candidate, and the first black Tory peer. A party spokesman said yesterday that he had resigned the Tory whip.

Lord Taylor will appear in front of magistrates on Friday 13 August, accused of false accounting. He is alleged to have claimed over £11,000 in expenses by pretending that his home was outside London when he was actually living in the capital.

He is the sixth politician to face criminal charges over police investigations into MPs' and peers' expenses. Three former Labour MPs – Elliott Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine – who stood down at the last election, a sitting Labour MP Eric Illsley, and a Tory peer, Lord Hanningfield, have also been charged.

"Having thoroughly reviewed the eighth file of evidence we have received from the Metropolitan Police in relation to parliamentary expenses, we concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to bring criminal charges against Lord Taylor," said the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, yesterday.

"Lord Taylor faces six charges under Section 17 of the Theft Act 1968 for false accounting. The first charge alleges that, on or about 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 he did not reside at the address he had given but resided in London.

"The subsequent charges allege that similar claims were made on 3 July 2006, 31 October 2006, 5 April 2007, 2 July 2007 and 31 October 2007. In total the charges allege a sum in excess of £11,000 was dishonestly claimed."

John Taylor, as he then was, had a remarkable career. He worked as a barrister, a television and radio producer and ran a PR company, Warwick Communications. In 1990, he was appointed special adviser to the Home Secretary.

At that time, there were only four black or Asian MPs, all Labour – a situation the then party chairman, Chris Patten, was anxious to address. When the Conservative MP for Cheltenham, Charles Irvine, announced that he was retiring, Patten used his influence to make sure that John Taylor was adopted as the new Conservative candidate.

Since he was inheriting a majority of nearly 5,000, it looked as if he was safely in position to become the first black Conservative MP, but his adoption triggered a reaction inside the Cheltenham Conservative Association.

The principle objectors denied that their objections had anything to do with race. They said that they were simply protesting at interference in their selection process. But suspicions that the row had racial undertones were stoked when one association member publicly described Mr Taylor as a "bloody nigger" – for which he was quickly expelled from the party. The spectacle of a divided party cost the Conservatives the seat, which was taken by the Liberal Democrats. Mr Taylor was awarded a peerage in 1996.

In his most recent speech in the Lords, two weeks ago, Lord Taylor described himself as having been "born and raised in a place that many people call paradise-Birmingham, just off the M6 motorway, by the gasworks".

His Jamaican father, Derief Taylor, was a professional cricketer, who played for Warwickshire and the West Indies. His mother, also from Jamaica, was a nurse. He studied English literature and law at Keele University, and was called to the bar in 1978, joining the same barristers' chambers as current Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke.

Elected a Conservative councillor in Solihull, he explained his choice of party by complaining that Labour was too patronising towards blacks.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links