Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lord Taylor of Warwick guilty of making false expenses claims, majority verdict of 11-1, he faces a prison sentence, House of Lords reform needed

Dear All

Ex-Tory peer Lord Taylor of Warwick has been found guilty.

He now faces the prospect of going to prison.

The amount he defrauded the taxpayer of was £11,277 in false parliamentary expenses claims.

The 58-year-old peer claimed travel costs between his Oxford home and Westminster, as well as subsistence for staying in London.

He claimed he had made the false claims "in lieu of a salary," and had been acting on the advice of colleagues.

Let’s have their names and the Police can visit them.

The jury at Southwark Crown Court found him guilty in an 11-1 majority verdict.

Someone thought he was innocent!


Like ex Labour MPs David Chaytor and Eric Illsley, he has been freed on bail pending sentencing at a date to be confirmed.

Lord Taylor was Britain's first black peer and a former barrister and radio and TV presenter.

He should have set a better example, and he must have known as a barrister that submitting false information was wrong.

He listed his main residence as a home in Oxford, which was owned by his nephew, while he actually lived in a flat in London.


His defence was it had been a common practice among peers to claim for fake journeys and enter expenses claims with a false address as a main residence.

So, let’s round up everyone involved in this and prosecute them.

During his stint in the witness box which was at times quite an emotional experience as he gave evidence, he told how he had battled racism in his political career; how he had been an unsuccessful Tory candidate in Cheltenham at the 1992 general election and claimed he was in public life to "help people" and not for the money.

But what he did was wrong.

Helen Law Prosecution barrister said:

“It was a lightly policed scheme, open to abuse. Lord Taylor knew that, and he used it”

She also said that as a man with a degree, who is a qualified barrister and a legislator, Lord Taylor should have been able to understand the rules set out in guidelines for peers.

Speaking of the trips he claimed for, prosecution barrister Helen Law said:

"Those were journeys that didn't happen from a home that wasn't his. Taylor knew those facts and he said he didn't attempt to mislead anyone. I'm going to suggest that as a lawyer and as a member of the House of Lords, the alarm bells would have been ringing loud and clear."

And, he should have pleaded guilty earlier, now he doesn’t qualify for a reduction in sentence.

Mohammed Khamisa QC defending said his client's actions had been:

"clumsy, illogical and stupid, but not a deliberate attempt to lie".

Fuck off with that shite, you awake during this case?

Mr Khamisa added:

"He is not motivated by money. He is a humble man, a gentle and honest man, with a clear moral compass. He is not a man with a silver spoon in his mouth."

Well he was motivated by something when he was filling in the forms?


What the Taylor incident tells us is that there has to be a review of the House of Lords Allowances.

There should be a daily allowance for attendance. In due course, we should be moving towards a wholly elected second upper chamber where Lords are salaried in much the same way as MPs.

I have no doubt that Lord Taylor of Warwick did devote a lot of time to helping others but he was caught in a corrupt system which rather than campaign to change he went along with it.

Britain is a corrupt country which begs the question why those in power don’t change it for the benefit for all.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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