Saturday, July 2, 2011
Tory peer Lord Hanningfield insists: 'I did nothing wrong' is jailed for expenses fraud, he is planning an appeal, not a hope in hell of winning
Another result is in.
Disgraced former Tory peer, Lord Hanningfield was found guilty of expenses fraud and jailed for nine months yesterday.
He was fiddling his Parliamentary expenses.
Lord Hanningfield falsely claimed nearly £14,000 for overnight stays in London when he was not in the capital.
On one occasion in February 2008 he fiddled a night while he was on board a flight to India.
On average, the noble Lord, a former Tory shadow minister ripped off the public an average of £2,300 a month for London hotels which he never stayed in.
He was found guilty of six counts of false accounting in May and joins four ex-Labour MPs and a fellow member of the Lords convicted of dishonestly obtaining thousands of pounds from the taxpayer.
Lord Hanningfield has lodged an appeal.
Well you have to do something during the nine months.
However the success of any appeal is doubtful because he has previously said he did nothing wrong by making false claims.
In short, it’s the ‘I’m guilty but I’m innocent’! Defence!
That doesn’t work.
The peer blamed the allegations against him on a "vindictive campaign", insisting he could justify all of his claims.
Even the one when he was on a flight to India?
Peers are able to claim up to £174-a-night when attending Parliament, if their main home was outside the city.
But I think given the abuse, we have to move to a scheme where Lords are paid the same as MPs.
At the same rate so we don’t have these grubby scenes again.
As well as ripping off the taxpayer for hotel stays, the noble Lord, managed to also fraudulently claimed £382 in train fares and £147 in mileage by doubling the seven-mile distance from his house to the railway station.
Another part of his defence was classic, he alleged that most other peers treated the House of Lords as a 'club', turning up there for only 10 minutes to claim their daily allowance.
Just follow the herd, trialling behind.
When he was questioned by detectives, he told them to look at the records of other peers and claimed he was not the only one claiming expenses in this way.
Imagine you are a murderer; you’re stabbing someone to death and the Police turn up. You turn round and say, ‘what is the problem; this isn’t the first murder in the world and others do it, nothing to see here’.
That is the mentality of Lord Hanningfield.
And now he has nine month in the clink to grasp the fact he has done wrong.
Mr Justice Saunders said he would reduce the length of imprisonment after hearing mitigation relating to his ill-health.
I think a suspended sentence would be better; Hanningfield isn’t a danger to society, better to reclaim the money, suspended sentence, 250 hours community service and a hefty fine.
And a three year ban from the House of Lords.
He ends his public life in disgrace after 40 years of service.
The House of Lords peers should be salaried and treated like MPs so they aren’t left out of pocket regarding legit expenses.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University