The House of Lords Privileges and Conduct Committee, the body charged with overseeing the operation of the House of Lords Code of Conduct, has recommended that Lord Hanningfield be suspended from the House of Lords for the remainder of the current Parliament. This is the maximum sanction available to the Committee.
The Committee’s report comes after Lord Hanningfield was investigated by the independent Lords Commissioner for Standards, who found he breached the Code of Conduct in claiming the daily attendance allowance on 11 days in July 2013 when he had not undertaken any parliamentary work.
The Commissioner also found that in doing so Lord Hanningfield ‘failed to act on his personal honour.’ The Committee has also recommended that Lord Hanningfield be required to repay the £3,300 he wrongly claimed for those days.
In his report to the Privileges and Conduct Committee, the Commissioner states that to claim the daily attendance allowance Members must both attend the House of Lords and undertake parliamentary work on the day of the claim. The Commissioner states that his finding does not set a threshold for the amount of time a Member must be on the parliamentary estate to claim, but rather that Lord Hanningfield was not able to show that he undertook any parliamentary work on the days in question.
The Committee’s recommended sanctions must now be approved by the House of Lords before coming into force. The House approved the report and the suspension on Tuesday 13 May.