First Peer Jailed for Expenses Fraud
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