Lord Hanningfield embroiled in 'clocking in' expenses scandal
Peer accused of repeatedly claiming £300 House of Lords allowance for less than 40 minutes of work
A PEER who was previously jailed for expenses fraud has been accused of claiming a £300-a-day House of Lords attendance allowance for less than 40 minutes of work.
Under rules introduced in October 2010, most peers no longer receive a salary. They are instead entitled to claim a daily allowance of £300 but "only if they attend a sitting of the House and/or committee proceedings".
The Daily Mirror claims Lord Hanningfield, 73, claimed £5,700 in July without taking part in any votes or debates. Undercover reporters followed him for 19 days in July and on 11 occasions he is said to have spent less than 40 minutes inside the building – using what the newspaper describes as his "quick 'clock in, clock out' technique".
When confronted by a reporter in an Essex car park yesterday, Hanningfield vehemently denied he had done anything wrong. He claimed that he could "name 50 other peers that do it" and insisted "I have worked my heart out for the taxpayer".
He said that his remit as a peer was wider than what he did in the House of Lords – although the reporter pointed out that the £300 allowance was not intended to pay for that. He added that he makes about £30,000 a year and pays out about £18,000 to people who "help" him at home and in the House of Lords.
When asked if he was suggesting that the rules needed to change, he replied: "I have to live, don't I? I don't do anything else. How do you think I am going to eat, how am I going to pay my electricity bills?"
In July 2011, Hanningfield was sentenced to nine months in jail for falsely claiming £14,000 for overnight stays in London when he was not in the capital and subsequently served nine weeks. Yesterday he said he still does not believe he was guilty and "should not have been jailed".
Hanningfield is said to have claimed more than £51,000 in attendance allowances between his return to Parliament in April 2012 and July 2013 but made no speeches in any parliamentary debate during that period. ·