Tory Lord Hanningfield charged over expenses fraud

Paul White, known as Lord Hanningfield © Suzanne Plunkett
Former Conservative council leader Lord Hanningfield has been charged with false accounting in relation to allegations of expenses fraud, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has said.

Hanningfield, 75, said he is “very disappointed” at the CPS’s decision to charge him with false accounting over a series of claims made against him in July 2013.

House of Lords members do not receive a salary, but they are eligible to claim between £150 and £300 for every day they sit in the Lords.

The purpose of this allowance is to fund members’ overnight stays, meals and office costs.

However, it is understood the former leader of Essex County Council allegedly claimed a daily allowance after “clocking in” to parliament on 11 separate dates for no more than 28 to 38 minutes per visit.

Scotland Yard launched an investigation into these allegations last November.

‘We will be fighting this charge’

The peer’s lawyer Daniel Godden said his client is “very disappointed” that the CPS is pursuing the charge.

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.

We will be fighting this charge all the way.”

Lord Hanningfield, also known Paul White, was elevated to the Lords in 1998.

He is due to appear before Westminster Magistrates Court on October 29.