Only in the Lords: the expenses cheats who just carry on working

A well-supported proposal that would have led to their expulsion was blocked - by Nick Clegg

There is only one workplace in the United Kingdom where someone can be caught making fraudulent expenses claims, be convicted, go to prison, then return to the old place of work to carry on claiming as if nothing had happened. I refer, of course, to the House of Lords.

The latest list of Lords expenses published today, covering June 2012, show that Lord Hanningfield, aka Paul White, former Tory leader of Essex County Council, trousered £3,600 in attendance allowances in that month alone – that is £300 a day for turning up on 12 separate days – plus £285 travel expenses. That is nothing new.

As I revealed a month ago, Lord Hanningfield also put in claims in April and May, totalling £4,596, so all in, he has been paid £8,481 in just three months for returning to the scene of his crime. Hanningfield served nine weeks of a nine month prison sentence last year after being convicted of claiming £14,000 worth of fraudulent expenses. The East Anglian Times reported yesterday that he wants to resume his career in local government.

In June, another former expenses cheat dipped his fingers into the same jar for the first time. Lord Taylor of Warwick served three months of a 12 month prison sentence for cheating the taxpayer out of £11,000 by lying about where he lived. After his release, he insouciantly told The Daily Telegraph that he was looking forward to returning to the House of Lords, whereupon one of his former colleagues in the Tory party, the newly ennobled Michael Dobbs, pleaded with the Lords authorities to tell him that he was not welcome. But he is back, and in June he claimed £2,100 in attendance allowances.

Their fate is in stark contrast to the MPs convicted of fiddling their expenses, all of whom are out of Parliament permanently and facing personal ruin.

The former Labour peer Pola Uddin is a slightly different case. She  was never prosecuted, but in 2010 she was told by the House of Lords Privileges committee to repay £125,349 worth of dodgy expenses. Labour peers were hoping she would not have the gall to show her face again, because no MP would be able to weather a scandal of that magnitude. But she has, and has started claiming attendance allowance.  In June, she claimed £1,800.

All of this would be impossible if Parliament passed a simple piece of legislation put forward by the former Liberal leader, David Steel, which would give them the power to expel miscreants such as these. The idea has support in every political party, but Nick Clegg has blocked it because he fears that small reforms will weaken the case for abolishing the Lords and creating an elected chamber.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

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

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album