Hanningfield suspended from Lords until 2015 over allowances

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Lord HanningfieldImage source, PA
Image caption,
Lord Hanningfield will not be able to sit in Parliament until May 2015

Peers have suspended Lord Hanningfield from the House of Lords for the rest of the current parliament over his claims for allowances.

He was found to have claimed a £300 allowance for each of 11 days on which he did no parliamentary work.

Peers backed a recommendation that he be suspended for the maximum possible period without the need for a vote.

Lord Hanningfield was jailed in 2011 for a separate abuse of his expenses. He sits as an independent in the Lords.

He was once Conservative leader of Essex County Council but lost the party whip after his conviction.

Lord Sewel, chairman of the Lords Privileges and Conduct Committee, which recommended his suspension until Parliament is dissolved for the 2015 election, said: "We believe the maximum sanction is justified in this case, not least because this is not Lord Hanningfield's first offence."

He added: "I sincerely hope that the case before the House today will be the last case of this type."


No other peer spoke before the suspension was agreed without dissent.

Lord Hanningfield's case followed an investigation by the Daily Mirror, which reported that he claimed the daily allowance for peers of £300 while only spending short periods in Parliament.

Following a complaint, the Lords Commissioner for Standards, ex-Hampshire chief constable Paul Kernaghan, carried out an inquiry focusing on 11 days in July 2013 when Lord Hanningfield spent less than 40 minutes in the parliamentary estate.

In his report, Mr Kernaghan found that in making the incorrect claims, Lord Hanningfield had "failed to act on his personal honour".

Peers are not paid a salary but can claim a maximum daily allowance of £300 if they attend a sitting or undertake "appropriate parliamentary work" in Westminster.

Lord Hanningfield said he regarded the allowance as a "de facto salary" which earned him around £30,000 a year and was unaware that what he was doing was wrong.

He has made clear he intends to return to the Lords after his suspension.

Lord Hanningfield - former pig farmer Paul White, 73 - served on Essex County Council from 1970 to 2011, and was its Conservative leader from 2001-10. He was made a life peer in 1998.