Inquiry demanded into Lord Hanningfield’s County Hall rule

Lord Hanningfield was jailed for fiddling his House of Lords expenses

Lord Hanningfield was jailed for fiddling his House of Lords expenses

First published in News

AN MP has called for a public inquiry into what went on at County Hall during Lord Hanningfield’s ten-year reign.

Bob Russell, Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester, says the public has a right to know who knew what and when, as allegations continue to emerge about the disgraced peer’s use of his Essex County Council credit card.

Mr Russell also questioned whether the council had covered up its concerns as Essex Police were not told about possible wrongdoing over Lord Hanningfield’s County Hall expenses, discovered in 2007, until it emerged at his trial this year.

Lord Hanningfield – real name Paul White – is serving nine months in jail after being convicted of six counts of fiddling his House of Lords expenses to the value of £14,000.

The Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate is now investigating allegations of false accounting at County Hall after details were sent to Essex Police by Essex County Council in May.

Mr Russell said: “There should be an inquiry into Lord Hanningfield’s stewardship of Essex County Council throughout his ten years, alongside the police investigation.

“I find it totally unbelievable that people at County Hall, including members and senior officers, were not aware of what Lord Hanningfield was doing.

“I became aware a year or so ago that three years ago somebody very close to Lord Hanningfield’s inner circle had sent letters to some councillors and the chief executive citing concerns.

“If we had never had the House of Lords investigation, does anyone have any confidence Essex County Council would have called in Essex Police at this stage? Once it was heard from the dock what the Metropolitan Police had uncovered, and once evidence had been given in open court, Essex County Council had its cover blown.”

Current council leader Peter Martin has said the council was restricted from revealing its concerns and investigations while the Metropolitan Police carried out its work, for fear of prejudicing the House of Lords case. But Mr Russell added: “I do not find that a convincing argument.

“I have never heard it said that because the police are investigating one matter, they will not investigate a second or separate matter. That is not a view I think the general public have.”

It was revealed earlier this week that internal audits in 2007 showed a lack of receipts for purchases on White’s corporate credit card. It also emerged he was spending about £5,200 a month on it and could sign off his own expenses.

Comments (15)

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10:31am Sat 16 Jul 11

Say It As It Is OK? says...

This investigation has a long way to go and I suggest Paul White was not the only one in ECC who had his hand in the till.

The most concerning thing is how on earth can anyone, in any walk of life be allowed to sign off their own expenses? Clearly if what the report suggests this man had an easy way to milk money from tax payers. How many more were or are still doing it?.

Oh, and didn't MPs in effect sign off their own expenses, we all know how honest they are!
This investigation has a long way to go and I suggest Paul White was not the only one in ECC who had his hand in the till. The most concerning thing is how on earth can anyone, in any walk of life be allowed to sign off their own expenses? Clearly if what the report suggests this man had an easy way to milk money from tax payers. How many more were or are still doing it?. Oh, and didn't MPs in effect sign off their own expenses, we all know how honest they are! Say It As It Is OK?
  • Score: 0

11:10am Sat 16 Jul 11

Discouraged says...

So the man who had to repay £4500 in expenses and did not go to prison wants an inquiry into a man who fiddled £14,000 and DID go to prison. If I was this MP I'd shut up about expenses.
So the man who had to repay £4500 in expenses and did not go to prison wants an inquiry into a man who fiddled £14,000 and DID go to prison. If I was this MP I'd shut up about expenses. Discouraged
  • Score: 0

1:28pm Sat 16 Jul 11

executive says...

All this thieving at the top whilst an employee in the lower ranks has to go through numerous hoops to make a genuine expenses claim.
All this thieving at the top whilst an employee in the lower ranks has to go through numerous hoops to make a genuine expenses claim. executive
  • Score: 0

4:00pm Sat 16 Jul 11

firedog says...

Off with his head!
Off with his head! firedog
  • Score: 0

4:23pm Sat 16 Jul 11

Last Poster says...

Slowly but surely the people will realise just how bent is our so called democracy. You vote Liberal, you get Tory. The right wing fiddlers were not given the publicity that so called Labour were. all Labour members were investigated by Murdoch for anything to blacken them, whilst the Tories were hidden from view. Does anyone believe monopolising the BSB was the only award to Murdoch for his hel in securing the "Party of Sleaze" back in power? If the Libearal Democrat means what he is saying, then should not they remove the coalition with the Tories and give the people a chance to vote for something new? Something like openess and honesty? Or is that only to be seen among the lowere classes now?
Slowly but surely the people will realise just how bent is our so called democracy. You vote Liberal, you get Tory. The right wing fiddlers were not given the publicity that so called Labour were. all Labour members were investigated by Murdoch for anything to blacken them, whilst the Tories were hidden from view. Does anyone believe monopolising the BSB was the only award to Murdoch for his hel in securing the "Party of Sleaze" back in power? If the Libearal Democrat means what he is saying, then should not they remove the coalition with the Tories and give the people a chance to vote for something new? Something like openess and honesty? Or is that only to be seen among the lowere classes now? Last Poster
  • Score: 0

6:14pm Sat 16 Jul 11

totallyfootball says...

We all know what happened the tubby Lord lined his pockets, what we don't know is to what extent? What we don't need is an MP with a chip on his shoulder to make it a personal crusade. I say investigate them all one by one and see just how much money has been syphoned out of the countries coffers?
We all know what happened the tubby Lord lined his pockets, what we don't know is to what extent? What we don't need is an MP with a chip on his shoulder to make it a personal crusade. I say investigate them all one by one and see just how much money has been syphoned out of the countries coffers? totallyfootball
  • Score: 0

8:27pm Sat 16 Jul 11

Ironman says...

Yr right last poster. We get fed the 'democracy' myth but everybody that I meet wants most of the following:-
-More control of our borders
-More control of immigration
-Less middlemen in the NHS
-No fiddling/corrupt Gov officials
-More accountability of everyone.
-Reforendum on Europe
-More Police on the streets
-No more benefit fraud
-Toughter prison sentences
But what do we get; Not a lot!
Democracy just means that the people in power do what they think is best. What nonsense. Public opinion is just manipulated. We get no choice at the polls, just the same ol' same ol'
Yr right last poster. We get fed the 'democracy' myth but everybody that I meet wants most of the following:- -More control of our borders -More control of immigration -Less middlemen in the NHS -No fiddling/corrupt Gov officials -More accountability of everyone. -Reforendum on Europe -More Police on the streets -No more benefit fraud -Toughter prison sentences But what do we get; Not a lot! Democracy just means that the people in power do what they think is best. What nonsense. Public opinion is just manipulated. We get no choice at the polls, just the same ol' same ol' Ironman
  • Score: 0

2:05am Sun 17 Jul 11

Andycal 172D says...

totallyfootball wrote:
We all know what happened the tubby Lord lined his pockets, what we don't know is to what extent? What we don't need is an MP with a chip on his shoulder to make it a personal crusade. I say investigate them all one by one and see just how much money has been syphoned out of the countries coffers?
And what backhanders were accepted for favours done - or what favours were just done for their fellow Lodge members.
[quote][p][bold]totallyfootball[/bold] wrote: We all know what happened the tubby Lord lined his pockets, what we don't know is to what extent? What we don't need is an MP with a chip on his shoulder to make it a personal crusade. I say investigate them all one by one and see just how much money has been syphoned out of the countries coffers?[/p][/quote]And what backhanders were accepted for favours done - or what favours were just done for their fellow Lodge members. Andycal 172D
  • Score: 0

11:32am Sun 17 Jul 11

camusa says...

What I want to know is why the Police are letting so much slide all this time. Seems whenever you go to them with a complaint you get lip-service and fobbed off. Heads and toes should roll there too, and I don't mean all the way to an early retirement with index-linked pension.
What I want to know is why the Police are letting so much slide all this time. Seems whenever you go to them with a complaint you get lip-service and fobbed off. Heads and toes should roll there too, and I don't mean all the way to an early retirement with index-linked pension. camusa
  • Score: 0

11:49am Sun 17 Jul 11

totallyfootball says...

Without wanting to bring myself into disrepute and have the local enforcement make me a target, has the News of the World events not led us to look at the police in a different light, after all how can they investigate themselves? We need outside forces to come in and go through everything connected with the Metropolitan Police and those like them, Essex Police is yet again before the IPCC for the umpteenth time and one day someone will be bought to book but probably not in my life time.
Without wanting to bring myself into disrepute and have the local enforcement make me a target, has the News of the World events not led us to look at the police in a different light, after all how can they investigate themselves? We need outside forces to come in and go through everything connected with the Metropolitan Police and those like them, Essex Police is yet again before the IPCC for the umpteenth time and one day someone will be bought to book but probably not in my life time. totallyfootball
  • Score: 0

12:18pm Sun 17 Jul 11

6079 Smith W says...

Ironman wrote:
Yr right last poster. We get fed the 'democracy' myth but everybody that I meet wants most of the following:-
-More control of our borders
-More control of immigration
-Less middlemen in the NHS
-No fiddling/corrupt Gov officials
-More accountability of everyone.
-Reforendum on Europe
-More Police on the streets
-No more benefit fraud
-Toughter prison sentences
But what do we get; Not a lot!
Democracy just means that the people in power do what they think is best. What nonsense. Public opinion is just manipulated. We get no choice at the polls, just the same ol' same ol'
You only talk to people who read the Daily Hate Mail then. And then you say opinion is manipulated! lol
[quote][p][bold]Ironman[/bold] wrote: Yr right last poster. We get fed the 'democracy' myth but everybody that I meet wants most of the following:- -More control of our borders -More control of immigration -Less middlemen in the NHS -No fiddling/corrupt Gov officials -More accountability of everyone. -Reforendum on Europe -More Police on the streets -No more benefit fraud -Toughter prison sentences But what do we get; Not a lot! Democracy just means that the people in power do what they think is best. What nonsense. Public opinion is just manipulated. We get no choice at the polls, just the same ol' same ol'[/p][/quote]You only talk to people who read the Daily Hate Mail then. And then you say opinion is manipulated! lol 6079 Smith W
  • Score: 0

2:43pm Sun 17 Jul 11

jubbly says...

Well done Ironman !
It would be nice to have all these.
Well done Ironman ! It would be nice to have all these. jubbly
  • Score: 0

3:57pm Sun 17 Jul 11

6079 Smith W says...

jubbly wrote:
Well done Ironman !
It would be nice to have all these.
Proof that media manipulation works!
[quote][p][bold]jubbly[/bold] wrote: Well done Ironman ! It would be nice to have all these.[/p][/quote]Proof that media manipulation works! 6079 Smith W
  • Score: 0

6:09pm Sun 17 Jul 11

roger bacon says...

Bob Russell is unbelievable. Evidently has never heard of the expression of "People in Greenhouses should not throw stones"
If I was him I would keep my mouth firmly shut.
Bob Russell is unbelievable. Evidently has never heard of the expression of "People in Greenhouses should not throw stones" If I was him I would keep my mouth firmly shut. roger bacon
  • Score: 0

6:49pm Sun 17 Jul 11

snoswad says...

"i've been media manipulated"but i still get same ol same ol.
or shouldn't i feel that way?
"i've been media manipulated"but i still get same ol same ol. or shouldn't i feel that way? snoswad
  • Score: 0

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