Richard Willis's Blog

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First Peer Jailed for Expenses Fraud

Lord Taylor

Today former Conservative peer Lord Taylor of Warwick was sent to prison for 12 months for fiddling more than £11,000 in expenses from the House of Lords. Taylor’s defence was that what he did was a widely accepted practice which was suggested to him by other peers to compensate for the lack of a salary for work in the Lords. However, this was not accepted by the Court and he has now repaid the amount in question.

Judge Mr Justice Saunders said of Taylor “The expenses scheme in the House of Lords was based on trust. Peers certified that their claims were accurate. They were not required to provide proof. It was considered that people who achieved a peerage could be relied on to be honest. Making false claims involved a breach of a high degree of trust. The expenses scandal has affected the standing not just of the House of Commons but also the House of Lords.”

Taylor is the only peer so far to face this sanction after a succession of former Labour MPs have been imprisoned:

   Derek Chaytor (Bury North) admitted to stealing £18,000 and was sentenced to 18 months

   Jim Devine (Livingston) admitted stealing £9,000 and was sentenced to 16 months

   Elliot Morley (Scunthorpe) admitted stealing over £30,000 and was sentenced to 16 months

   Eric Illsley (Barnsley Central) admitted stealing £14,500 and was sentenced to 12 months


May 31, 2011 - Posted by | National


  1. Yes and I would not mind if there served every second of the sentence imposed by both Illsley and Chaytor are out after only serving a fraction of their punishment. I DO wonder what would happen had they been an unemployed hairdresser who was on the dole but doing people’s hair in their houses and who was caught? Would they get away with say 4 weeks of a 6 month sentence? No wonder many ordinary people such as myself have lost faith in the Courts and our system of Justice.

    Comment by steve foley | May 31, 2011 | Reply

  2. Good point by Steve Foley. British justice has become nothing more than a system of winning or losing (as opposed to guilty or innocent) – the richer you are the more likely you are to get a favourable outcome.

    Comment by Gideon Mack | June 1, 2011 | Reply

    • Sadly I think that is right!

      Comment by Richard Willis | June 1, 2011 | Reply

  3. Not true I think chaps.
    Let me give an example in the case of one career criminal (now deceased) Elvis Laing. Sentenced to 15 months for driving a car away from police and crashing on the Oxford rd , he served less than 6 weeks.
    These cases you see are the high profile ones, the ordinary ones simply go unnoticed.
    The system is at fault here,simple as that. All that has to happen is that the time given is the time served and bad behaviour will attract more time. In that way the judge will be able to keep the person behind bars for the period they deem correct. At the moment the judge has to take some kind of educated guess and they do not always get it right. Take the case of Prince Naseem (the Boxer). In giving him 15 months the judge actually told him that he should expect to serve at least half of it. Naseem was released in 15 weeks. Not quite what the judge obviously intended !
    And I haven’t even mentioned article 8 !

    Comment by Howard Thomas | June 1, 2011 | Reply

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