Lord Hanningfield: Conservative peer charged with expenses fraud

Lord Hanningfield says that he will 'fight the charge all the way'

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Indy Politics

The Tory peer Lord Hanningfield has been charged with alleged expenses fraud.

He was suspended form the House of Lords last year and fined £3,300 after he was exposed for “clocking in” to the House of Lords in order to claim the daily £300 allowance and was filmed by the Daily Mirror leaving the building just 21 minutes after he had arrived.

Four years ago he was sentenced to nine months for fiddling his expenses, before being allowed to return to the House of Lords. 

The Crown Prosecution Service said on Wednesday thay Lord Hanningfield, a former Conservative leader on Essex County Council, would be prosecuted on false accounting charges in relation to daily allowance claims he submitted to the House of Lords in 2013.

Lord Hanningfield's lawyer said the peer is “very disappointed” that the CPS is pursuing the offence and has vowed to “fight this charge all the way”.

Daniel Goddin added: "He has co-operated with the police inquiry into his expenses and has always maintained that he conducted parliamentary work both prior to, and after, attending the House on the requisite dates in July 2013.

"Any day where he left the House after a short amount of time was linked to his continuing ill health, which was documented in evidence given to the Scotland Yard inquiry."

Lord Hanningfield was ennobled in 1998 for his work as the Conservative leader of Essex County Council and, despite receiving a nine-month prison sentence in 2011 for fiddling his expenses, he was able to return to the House of Lords. By the end of July 2013 he had claimed £51,300, even though he had never spoken in the Lords chamber or any of its committees, nor asked any questions.

It is alleged that Lord Hanningfield, on or about 30 July 2013, in "furnishing information for the purpose of making a daily allowance claim", he dishonestly and with a view to gain for himself or with intent to cause loss to another, produced or made use of a document required for an accounting purpose, namely a "daily allowance and/or travel expenses" claim form.

He will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on 29 October.

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