Essex: County council recommended not to pursue Lord Hanningfield for expenses claims

17:39 30 June 2014

Former Tory peer Lord Hanningfield

Former Tory peer Lord Hanningfield

Archant

The Essex County Council audit committee has recommended the authority shelves plans to claim back £50,000 from former leader Lord Hanningfield.

Lord Hanningfield was leader at County Hall from May 2000 until February 2010, when he stepped down after a criminal investigation into his expenses at the House of Lords.

He was found guilty and sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment on those charges in the summer of 2011.

But a separate investigation into almost £288,000 he claimed in council expenses and spent on council credit cards in the last five years he was leader was dropped in November 2012 by Essex Police, the City of London Police and the Crown Prosecution Service, who said there was insufficent evidence to charge the disgraced peer.

Since then Essex County Council (ECC) has been considering whether it should take its own legal action against Lord Hanningfield and sue him for money it considers he incorrectly claimed.

However following legal advice the council’s audit committee has today recommended plans to pursue Lord Hanningfield, real name Paul White, for almost £50,000 be dropped.

Councillor Susan Barker, chairman of the audit committee, said: “Terry Osborne, director of corporate law and assurance, advised that the costs of pursuing this case would be significant, with uncertain chances of success.

“She advised that in addition to the significant cost, the council would also have to invest further considerable officer time trying to prepare for and pursue the case, with unlikely prospects of success.

“It is with huge regret that, having taken account of the legal advice and the advice of our external auditors, we feel we have no alternative but to recommend that no further action be taken in this matter.”

Council leader David Finch has the final decision on whether to launch legal proceedings, and he told councillors today he intended to make a decision within one week.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Dunmow Broadcast visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Dunmow Broadcast staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Dunmow Broadcast account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Yesterday, 12:00
Helen Craig with some of her sculptures

The illustrator of the Angelina Ballerina children’s books, Helen Craig, has returned to her true love of sculpture to produce a collection which is on show at The Saffron Walden Gallery until August 7.

Saturday, August 1, 2015
Dunmow Sounding Board Group

A new group in Uttlesford means that residents will have their say on NHS health and care issues in the area.

Saturday, August 1, 2015
Ollie Carter

The Flitch House will be one of the venues to host a guitarist playing for over eight hours in a bid to raise money.

Friday, July 31, 2015
Cheese Posties pioneers Dave and Danny

A Dunmow man has given dogs across the country another reason for chasing the postman every morning by setting up the world’s first ever grilled cheese subscription service.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Dunmow Broadcast e-edition today E-edition

Most read stories