by Stephen Tall on October 18, 2009
A FRONTBENCH Liberal Democrat peer is refusing to reveal the location of her main home, which she used to claim more than £70,000 in expenses from the House of Lords. Baroness Barker, 48, a spokeswoman on health, has lived in London for the past 20 years but four years ago began claiming allowances for peers living outside the capital.
While continuing to live and work in London, Barker claimed up to £19,000 a year by saying her main address was in the “southeast”. When approached by The Sunday Times, she volunteered the home was in Sussex but would not even name the nearest town nor say whether she owned the property.
This is the latest expenses incident to involve a Lib Dem peer, following allegations made against former party chief executive Lord Rennard. Stories have also been run about Lord Razzall and his partner, Baroness Bonham-Carter, and Lord Thomas of Gresford and his wife, Baroness Walmsley – though in those cases there was no suggestion that either couple had broken the rules.
Back in May, the Lib Dem Federal Executive set out how it was going to deal with the issues arising from the expenses scandal as it relates to both Houses of Parliament. There has been no update from Federal Executive on the allegations relating to House of Lords allowances.