Essex: County council leader calls on Lord Hanningfield to ‘do the right thing’ and pay back money to the taxpayer

Lord Hanningfield leaving Chelmsford Crown Court where he stood trial for fiddling his House of Lords expenses. Lord Hanningfield leaving Chelmsford Crown Court where he stood trial for fiddling his House of Lords expenses.

Friday, July 4, 2014
1:20 PM

A council leader has called upon one of his predecessors to pay back the expenses he is alleged to owe taxpayers.

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Essex County Council leader David Finch urged Lord Hanningfield to “do the right thing” and pay back the £51,000 he is said to have claimed inappropriately. The Peer, who was council leader from 2001 to 2010, has denied wrongdoing and previously said he would not be paying back the money.

The council’s audit committee, which met on Monday, decided not to pursue legal action to recover the money, after being advised of the significant costs involved and the uncertain chances of success.

Mr Finch said: “This about doing the right thing. It is about choosing to spend money on providing care, education, and roads, instead of spending it lining the pockets of expensive lawyers.

“I’ve made sure this situation can never happen again and our governance is now second to none.

“But I am still as angry and frustrated about this situation as Essex taxpayers are.

“So I am calling again on Lord Hanningfield to do the right thing and repay the money he owes.”

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