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

Dunmow Flitch Trials, July 12, 2008, Des and Claire on trial.; Names (L-R): Des Rayner; Judge Michael Chapman; Claire Rayner.

The deadline is approaching for applications to take part in the Dunmow Flitch Trials which take place this year on Saturday, July 9.

13:05
Rev Janet Nicholls, rural adviser and agricultural chaplain, is pictured at Thaxted Church.

The agricultural chaplain for Essex hopes to bring God and farming together in her new role.

Yesterday, 16:53
Uttlesford District Council headquarters on London Road, Saffron Walden.

Uttlesford District Council are warning residents after a scam letter requesting money for outstanding council tax charges is being circulated in the area.

Yesterday, 13:34
After the work: Residents say the work performed was

Residents in Stebbing Green are up in arms after a established wildlife habitat was “bulldozed” by the parish council last week.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Dunmow Broadcast e-edition E-edition

Most read stories