The conduct of Lord Hanningfield - Privileges Committee Contents


ANNEX 1: Report from the Sub-Committee on LordS' conduct

1. The Commissioner for Standards has submitted the attached report into the conduct of Lord Hanningfield.

2. In December 2013 the Daily Mirror published articles about Lord Hanningfield spending short periods of time on the parliamentary estate in July 2013 whilst claiming the daily allowance. Following the articles a complaint was made to the Commissioner for Standards alleging that Lord Hanningfield had breached the House's rules on financial support for members, and so breached the Code of Conduct.

3. The Commissioner's investigation focused on 11 days in July 2013 when Lord Hanningfield was on the parliamentary estate for fewer than 40 minutes. On each of those days he claimed £300. At issue was whether Lord Hanningfield had correctly certified that he undertook parliamentary work on each of those days.

4. The Commissioner finds that Lord Hanningfield did not undertake parliamentary work on those days and so finds him in breach of paragraph 10(c) of the Code of Conduct (which requires members to act in accordance with the House's rules on financial support). The Commissioner finds that Lord Hanningfield wrongly claimed £3,300 in daily allowance. The Commissioner also finds that in making incorrect claims for daily allowance Lord Hanningfield failed to act on his personal honour.

5. In accordance with paragraphs 129 and 130 of the Guide to the Code of Conduct, our role has been to decide the appropriate sanction to recommend.

6. We recommend that Lord Hanningfield be required to repay to the House the £3,300 he wrongly claimed.

7. We consider the breaches of the Code of Conduct by Lord Hanningfield to be so serious that suspension from the service from the House is a necessary sanction.[5] In considering the length of the suspension to recommend, we have taken account of all aspects of the case, as well as precedents of when members have been suspended. We have also taken account of the fact that Lord Hanningfield has already been suspended from the service of the House for misuse of the previous system of financial support.[6] We recommend that Lord Hanningfield be suspended from the service of the House until the end of the current Parliament (which is the maximum sanction available).[7]


5   The House recently agreed two additional sanctions: denial of access for a specified period to the system of financial support for members, and denial of access for a specified period to the facilities of the House. The report establishing the sanctions provided that they would be available only in respect of misconduct which took place after the report had been agreed by the House (House Committee, Sanctions for Breaches of the Code of Conduct (1st report, 2013-14, HL Paper 91), paragraph 4). The report was agreed by the House in January 2014, but the misconduct in this case occurred in July 2013. Therefore these new sanctions are not available in this case. Back

6   In 2011 Lord Hanningfield was suspended from the House for nine months for wrongly claiming £30,254.50 in night allowance. See Committee for Privileges and Conduct, The Conduct of Lord Hanningfield (9th report, 2010-12, HL Paper 211). He was imprisoned for nine months for false accounting in respect of the same expenses claims. Back

7   See Committee for Privileges, The powers of the House of Lords in respect of its Members (1st report, 2008-09, HL Paper 87). Back


 
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