The House of Lords Privileges and Conduct Committee has recommended that the House of Lords suspends Lord Hanningfield and Lord Taylor of Warwick, in two reports on their use of the system of financial support for Members published on Friday 4 November.
The reports follow investigations by the independent Lords Commissioner for Standards and the Sub-Committee on Lords’ Conduct.
The Privileges and Conduct Committee confirm that Lord Hanningfield and Lord Taylor of Warwick broke the rules on Members’ use of the system of financial support – Lord Hanningfield and Lord Taylor of Warwick have accepted these findings - and recommend that they be suspended from the House for the same period as their prison sentences.
The House of Lords will decide whether to accept the Committee’s recommendations when it debates the reports on Wednesday 9 November.
Lord Taylor of Warwick
The Committee recommend that Lord Taylor of Warwick be suspended from the House for 12 months from 31 May 2011, the date on which he was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court. If this recommendation is accepted by the House of Lords, Lord Taylor of Warwick will not be able attend the House until the end of May 2012. The independent Lords Commissioner for Standards has found that Lord Taylor of Warwick wrongly claimed £24,311.70. He has repaid this amount in full.
The Committee recommend that Lord Hanningfield be suspended from the House for 9 months from 1 July 2011, the date on which he was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court. If this recommendation is accepted by the House of Lords, Lord Hanningfield will not be able attend the House until April 2012. The independent Lords Commissioner for Standards had found that Lord Hanningfield wrongly claimed £30,254.50. He has previously repaid £1,800 and confirmed, in oral evidence to the Committee, that he planned to repay the full amount he wrongly claimed and would not return to the House until he had done so.
The investigation process
The two cases were investigated by the independent House of Lords Commissioner for Standards following the conclusion of criminal trials in which both Lord Taylor of Warwick and Lord Hanningfield were found guilty of ‘furnishing false information relating to accounts’. All internal investigation of the two cases was suspended while the criminal proceedings were active.
The Commissioner presented his findings to the Sub-Committee on Lords’ Conduct which then recommended sanctions to the Select Committee for Privileges and Conduct.
The Members then had a right of appeal to the Privileges and Conduct Committee. The Privileges and Conduct Committee heard the appeals, considered the Sub-Committee’s reports and have now published their own reports to the House, recommending sanctions in each case.
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