Essex: MP reports "clock in peer" Lord Hanningfield to cops

Braintree and Witham Times: MP reports "clock in peer" Lord Hanningfield to cops MP reports "clock in peer" Lord Hanningfield to cops

AN MP has reported Lord Hanningfield to the police over claims that he took £300 daily allowances for work in Parliament while only spending brief periods in the House of Lords chamber.

On 11 of 19 days a national newspaper monitored his movements in July, the former Essex County Council leader spent less than 40 minutes in the Lords after "clocking in" with an official in the chamber before returning home.

The shortest attendance during the month was 21 minutes and the longest more than five hours, with £5,700 claimed in attendance allowance and £471 in travel costs, the newspaper said.

Labour MP John Mann said he was reporting the former Tory peer to the Metropolitan Police for investigation under the 1968 Theft Act.

Mr Mann said: "Lords can claim either by the half-day or the day.

"If what has been reported is accurate, he has been doing much less than half-days but claiming for a day.

"If it is true that he has been claiming in the way that has been reported, then it is right and proper that there should be a police investigation into this. The taxpayer would expect no less."

Lord Hanningfield, jailed in 2011 for abuse of expenses, said the requirement to appear in the chamber is "only a mechanism for paying you" and that failing to speak or vote should not be a bar to receiving the expenses cash.

Most of the money went on "entertaining, meeting people, employing people", he said, claiming that he would "end up with £12,000 a year" for himself which he needs to eat and "pay my electricity bills".

He claimed that half the members of the House were doing the same and that he could name at least 50 peers who did likewise.

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