Baroness Warsi cleared over Lords expenses

 

Tory chairman Baroness Warsi has been cleared of abusing expenses by claiming for overnight stays at a property she was using for free.

But the Cabinet minister was found to have breached rules by failing to declare that she was renting out her own London home.

The peer faced criticism from Labour for allegedly pre-empting a report by House of Lords standards commissioner Paul Kernaghan after saying he had "dismissed" the allegations against her.

Mr Kernaghan has been looking into accusations that Lady Warsi claimed up to £2,000 while staying rent-free at a property belonging to Conservative donor Dr Wafik Moustafa.

She insisted she had made a "financial contribution" to her aide, Naweed Khan, who lived at the house during 2008.

In a statement this morning, the peer said she was "delighted" to draw a line under the matter, while David Cameron said it cleared the way for her to lead the Conservatives' campaign for the election of police and crime commissioners.

"I have always maintained that the allegations surrounding my expenses were untrue and I am delighted that Paul Kernaghan has dismissed them," Lady Warsi said.

"His report and the report by Sir Alex Allan - two independent inquiries - have now drawn a line under these matters and my only focus now will be to get on with my job."

The Prime Minister added: "I am pleased that these allegations have been dismissed by the Lords Commissioner.

"With elections for police and crime commissioners in the autumn, this will be a big summer of campaigning for the Conservative Party. As co-chairman, Sayeeda (Warsi) will be leading that campaign."

The announcement was made after Mr Kernaghan wrote to Lady Warsi notifying her of his conclusions.

However, his report has not been published or endorsed by the Lords committee that considers conduct matters.

And hours after Lady Warsi's statement the House authorities clarified that she had in fact been found in breach of rules.

A Lords spokeswoman said: "The Commissioner for Standards has written to Baroness Warsi advising her that he would be submitting a report on her case to the Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct in early August.

"He stated that he had dismissed the allegation that she had wrongly claimed expenses for overnight accommodation costs in London.

"He did, however, find that she had breached the Code in relation to her failure to properly register a property in the Register of Lords' Interests.

"He acknowledged that she had already written to the chairman of the Sub-Committee recognising that failure and apologising for it.

"He would be recommending that that apology, along with her corrected entry in the Register, constituted appropriate remedial action and that no further action was required."

It is understood that Lady Warsi had not declared rental income from her London property in the register of interests.

A senior Labour source said: "It seems she is a long way from having been cleared by this report."

The sub-committee is not due to consider and publish Mr Kernaghan's findings until October - by which time Mr Cameron is widely expected to have carried out a ministerial reshuffle.

The Prime Minister's reference to a "big summer of campaigning" appeared to stop short of guaranteeing she would still be in her post by the autumn.

Mr Cameron's adviser on ministerial interests, Sir Alex Allan, conducted an investigation last month into separate allegations against Lady Warsi, and found that she was guilty of only a "minor" breach of the ministerial code in relation to a trip to Pakistan with a business partner in July 2010.

Sir Alex said then that the Cabinet Office minister accepted that she should have informed officials of her relationship with Abid Hussain - a second cousin of her husband - and had already issued an apology.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Team Leader

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you want to work for a Compa...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you want to work for a Compa...

Recruitment Genius: HR Advisor

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an innovative a...

Recruitment Genius: Production Technician

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Production Technician is required to join a ...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower