Tag Archives: Lord Clarke

Lords minority groups (Is it ‘cos I is Black?)

Lord Taylor

I’m not sure why, but the conviction and imprisonment of Lord Taylor has made me uncomfortable. He is obviously NOT a crook and if we accept that Westminster expenses fiddling was a pretty ancient sport, his prosecution seems a bit extreme. Deep-down we also perceive that many of  Their Lordships have got away with it.

At £65K, our MPs are underpaid and I cannot think of a worse honour than becoming a Lord on a daily attendance allowance of £300 per day. If those incomes are annualised the actual  hourly rates are probably somewhere approaching the minimum wage.

The “forced” demographic profile of both Houses is another aspect of modern government which is beginning to look more and more ‘token’ and more decorative than practical. Why?  After many years of the “Let’s get some Johny Foreigners and coloureds in”policy, ethnic minorities continue to be under-represented at senior political level. It’s a national disgrace.

However, that does NOT appear to be the case as far as Lords who have been ‘busted’ in the expenses scandal. That is a list where minority groups are over-represented.

The whole expenses  affair (Lords and Commons) is symptomatic of the British unaccomodating and obdurate attitude  towards money and commerce.

THAT’S why we are unable to turn the occasional blind eye and why we continue to elect governments which allow their drumbeat to be set by the media.

THAT’S why we failed in our World Cup bid and that’s why we’re still moaning about Sepp Blatter’s election as President of FIFA.

THAT’S why we will never again win the Eurovision Song Contest.

THAT’S why appearances continue to matter more than pragmatism and success.

THAT’S why enjoy national self-flagellation  and the  ruining of public servants’ careers because ‘it’s the right thing to do’. (Is it right to break an individuals career for £15K?)

Admittedly, the Brits do not have that Jewish, Middle Eastern, or even Far Eastern ‘merchant mentality’ in which the goal is the deal and the deal is the goal, where financial ‘flexibility’ or  ‘an understanding’ wins the day.

NOT a po-faced inflexibility, commercial rigor mortis and constant accusation of dishonesty, misappropriation and banditry in others.

We are Victorians who have yet to awaken. Until then, the United Kingdom will move from having been a country which 100 years ago made things happen to a country which will soon be wondering what happened.

Here is the list of the Lords who were busted (note the ‘ethnics’):

Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe, LABOUR

Yorkshireman Clive Brooke pocketed more than £140,000 of overnight subsistence allowance in seven years by claiming for his mortgage-free house in Brighton instead of his £700,000 townhouse in Battersea, South London.

Viscount Falkland, LIB DEM

Hereditary peer Lucius Edward William Plantagenet Cary registered a two-bed house owned by his wife’s aunt near Maidstone in Kent as his main residence, paid no rent but spent most of his time at £500,000 townhouse in Clapham, South London.

Lord Rosser, LABOUR

Former union man Richard Andrew Rosser received £50,000 in overnight subsistence allowances since buying a flat in Chippenham, Wiltshire, in 2007 and ‘flipping’ his main residence from £750,000 four-bedroom home in Uxbridge, West London.

Baroness Neuberger, LABOUR

Rabbi Julia Babette Sarah Neuberger claimed £80,000 overnight subsistence allowances in five years by designating £237,000 flat in Leamington Spa instead of family’s £2.3million townhouse in Regent’s Park, central London.

Lord Taylor of Warwick, TORY

John David Becket Taylor, who is of Jamaican extraction,  claimed £70,000 over six years by saying his main residence was his dead mother’s house in Solihull – which had been sold – then his nephew’s friend’s house in Oxford, all while living in family home in Ealing, West London.

Baroness Goudie of Roundwood, LABOUR

Mary Teresa Goudie claimed £150,000 over eight years by saying her main residence is a Glasgow flat she bought for £200,000 in 2001, not the £1.5million mews house in Belgravia she shares with her husband.

Lord Paul, LABOUR

Indian-born Swraj Paul claimed £38,000 in less than two years by telling the Lords his main residence was the one-bed manager’s flat attached to a hotel owned by one of his companies in Chesterton, Oxfordshire, not his central London family home.

Lord Sheldon, LABOUR

Robert Edward Sheldon Claimed £130,000 over six years whilst owning a  £1.3million mortgage-free  flat in central London, he told authorities his main residence was a house in Manchester, which he in fact gave to his son in 2003.

Lord Bhatia, LABOUR

Tanzanian-born  Amirali Alibhai “Amir” Bhatia claimed more than £20,000 in two years by flipping main residence from £1.5 million family home in south London to a two-bed rented flat in Reigate, Surrey, occupied by his brother.

Lord Clarke of Hampstead, LABOUR

Former union man Anthony James Clarke claimed up to £18,000 a year despite often staying with friends for free or going back to his home in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

Baroness Uddin, LABOUR

Bandladesh-born Manzila Pola Uddin claimed £125,000 between 2005 and 2009,  second home allowance on her London property, claiming that she lived in Maudstone.

Lord Hanningfield, Conservative

Paul Edward Winston White has been found guilty of fiddling his House of Lords expenses and will be sentenced within six weeks.

The Westminster 6

Here are the previously unnamed MPs and Lords whose expense excesses have caused their files to be handed to the Director of Public Prosecutions. They are, from the House of Commons: Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and  Jim Devine. From the House of Lords: Lord Hanningfield, Lady Uddin and Lord Clarke.

As you know, there has been much more naughtiness that that perpetrated by this “Westminster 6” but they are the ones who allegedly have been most blatant. Of the six, the most likely to be banged up are Elliot Morley and David Chaytor. Let’s have a look at some of their sins:

Elliot Morley is a former Labour Agriculture Minister and is MP for Glandford and Scunthorpe. (They say that he put the “land” in Glandford and the #### in Scunthorpe). Elliot claimed more than £16,000 for a mortgage that had already been paid-off. Quote: ” I have made a mistake, I apologise for that and I take full responsibility.”

David Chaytor is MP for Bury North and appears just as absent-minded as Elliot Morley. He claimed £13000 for a mortgage which had been paid-off. Quote: “In respect of mortgage interest payments, there has been an unforgivable error in my accounting procedures for which I apologise unreservedly.”

There’s only one thing to say to those two: 2006 Fraud Act and 1968 Theft Act.

Jim Devineis Labour MP for Livingson. He claimed over £4000 for shelving and electrical work, although there is no evidence of shelving and the electrical work invoice had a fake address and invalid VAT number. Apparently , the electrical work had been done by someone he met in the pub. Quote: “I have been subjected to malicious leaking of part of my expenses and not allowed to put my point of view accurately”.

Lord Hanningfield is a Conservative Peer and he claimed over £100,000 in “overnight expenses” for staying in London. He managed to accumulate these expenses over a period of about seven years. He lives near Chelmsford which is about 40 miles from Westminster. Quote: “There has been a vindictive campaign against me. I work extremely hard on the front bench and am satisfied that I can account for my expenses.”

Lady Uddin is a Labour Peer and friend of the Blairs. She claimed £100,000 in expenses on a property that she has hardly ever occupied. While she was claiming the expenses, she lived with her parents in Wapping. Quote: “I welcome this review and will cooperate fully in the hope of a speedy resolution and clarity that I did not breach the rules of the House.”

Lord Clarkehas claimed £18000 in overnight expenses when in actual fact he was not incurring expenses because he would usually travel back home from Westminster to St Albans. Quote: “I’m responsible for my own actions…. If I’ve got to go to the wall and my life is finished in terms of political or public life….then so be it. I’ll have to accept that.”

It seems that the only person so far who has admitted  to making “naughty” claims is Lord Clarke and he should be congratulated for that. It would do Westminster a lot of good if MPs who have made fraudulent expenses claims and subsequently returned their ill-gotten gains showed some of Lord Clarke’s character.