Monday, 18 October 2010

The fish rots from the head

When an organisation's leader is suspended from his very important job and he's ordered to give taxpayers back £40,000 of 'misclaimed' expenses, you have to wonder how useful he is to us.

Lady Uddin, Lord Paul and Lord Bhatia face suspension from the house for varying terms and have been ordered to pay back £125,000, £40,000 and £27,000 respectively.
Only two other peers have ever been suspended before and the penalties are the most stringent ever imposed. Paul resigned from the party.
Uddin and Bhatia were judged to have deliberately broken the rules while Paul breached the rules demonstrating "gross irresponsibility and negligence" but did not act in bad faith.
Uddin and Paul escaped police prosecution when the Lords rewrote the expenses rules earlier this year to clarify that members could designate a property as their primary residence even if they only visited once a month.
Paul, 115th on the Sunday Times rich list, claimed for expenses purposes that his primary residence was a flat in a hotel he owned to claim overnight expenses. He "freely" admitted he had never spent a night there. The report said: "We do not feel justified in finding, on the balance of probabilities, that Lord Paul acted dishonestly or in bad faith. However, his actions were utterly unreasonable, and demonstrated gross irresponsibility and negligence." Paul faces a four-month suspension and has already repaid £41,982.

I'm talking about Lord Paul, the Chancellor of The Hegemon. Unelected Lord, until recently a non-domiciled tax avoider and now revealed as an expenses cheat. What a role model.

(Oh, and what would be the penalty if someone claimed housing benefit for a place they'd never lived in? It wouldn't be paying back the cash and a four-month suspension…)

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