Tory council leader accuses Lib Dem MP of smear

by Stephen Tall on July 5, 2009

The BBC has the story:

A Tory peer referred to the police over expenses says it is part of a campaign of “attacks and innuendo” by an MP. Lord Hanningfield claimed the unnamed MP was determined to “blacken my name” over education policy in Essex, where the peer is council leader.

The frontbencher claimed £99,970 over seven years for the cost of staying in London, despite living 40 miles away.

Lib Dem MP Bob Russell said he believed the peer was referring to him but added he was only interested in the facts. … Colchester MP Bob Russell, who raised Lord Hanningfield’s claims in the House of Commons on 21 June, did not confirm that he had made the complaint to police. But he said: “I have drawn to the attention of various authorities matters which I think are of concern which need looking at.”

Asked if he was attempting to smear the peer, he said: “He’s entitled to say what he wants. My job is to unearth the facts as I understand them and present them to the appropriate bodies to look at.”

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£100,000 over 7 years does not sound too much for a regular attender. On a rough calc it’s about 500 nights which is about 70 a year.

Hanningfield is entitled to claim overnight stays in London if his main address is in Essex. The only irregularity would be if he was claiming for any nights when he did not stay in London.

Tony Greaves

by Tony Greaves on July 5, 2009 at 2:31 pm. Reply #

Looks like a typical bit of LibDem black propaganda to me. The more I learn about the LibDems, the less I like them.

by Forlornehope on July 5, 2009 at 3:07 pm. Reply #

I have great respect for Lord Tony Greaves, but while he might think this is reasonable, for most people its more than their mortgage. He might have been ‘entitled’ by the rules, but was he morally entitled? Many people commute more than 40 miles. I suggest a poll….

by Terry Gilbert on July 5, 2009 at 5:29 pm. Reply #

The reference was to the police. I was pointing out where any irregularity that could involve the police might possibly lie and saying that the rest was legitimate and therefore would not involve the police.

But of course it is impossible to say anything about parliamentary allowances and expenses without raising hysterical and irrational responses. I should have known better.

Tony Greaves

by Tony Greaves on July 5, 2009 at 5:52 pm. Reply #

Terry Gilbert:
“He might have been ‘entitled’ by the rules, but was he morally entitled? Many people commute more than 40 miles. I suggest a poll….”

Was Lord Rennard “morally entitled”, for heaven’s sake?

by Herbert Brown on July 5, 2009 at 6:00 pm. Reply #

I note that Lord Hanngingfield claims that his expenses are “peanuts”. Perhaps that comment is worth publicising more widely, given that £100,000 represents more than four times the average annual salary.

Also, according to a local paper he promised to publish his expenses monthly. Has he done so yet? See: http://www.hertsandessexobserver.co.uk/hertsandessexobserver-news-dunmowandstansted/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=421536

by Andy H on July 5, 2009 at 8:46 pm. Reply #

London-Chelmsford is a short distance done by commuters everyday.

The Essex taxpayers provides him with a limosine and driver and the national taxpayer puts him up in London. It’s a bit excessive.

by Antony Hook on July 5, 2009 at 11:40 pm. Reply #

Talking about Peers ,has Lord Rennard repaid the £41,000 yet?

by john zims on July 6, 2009 at 12:16 am. Reply #

First thing the Tories on KCC did after the elections was to award themselves an 8% increase in allowances.

Neither Lord Hanningfield, the Kent Tories or, sadly, Tony Greaves, seem to get it yet.

by ColinW on July 6, 2009 at 10:02 am. Reply #

The question is whether hanningfield is a regular attender or not. I understand that his attendance in the Lords is quite below that of other Tory frontbenchers.

by Doug on July 6, 2009 at 10:12 am. Reply #

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