Council legal battle to wrestle back £50,000 from Lord Hanningfield to be shelved

Council legal battle to wrestle back £50,000 from Lord Hanningfield to be shelved

Council legal battle to wrestle back £50,000 from Lord Hanningfield to be shelved

First published in Local News
Last updated

A BID to wrestle back £50,000 in expenses claimed by shamed peer Lord Hanningfield is set to be shelved.

Essex County Council's audit committee today told leader David Finch the cost of pursuing legal action against the former leader was outweighed by its cost and its chances of success.

The recommendation comes a year after Lord Hanningfield was sent an invoice for £50,689.24 urging him to repay expenses claims the council's lawyers believed were not legitimate.

The action followed a police investigation which found the former Tory peer had no criminal case to answer.

However, frequent attempts to convince Lord Hanningfield to repay the money have amounted to nothing.

Today, the committee was given legal advice behind closed doors despite the opposition of three councillors, who said the public had a right to hear the advice.

Afterwards, committee chairman Susan Barker said: "Miss Osborne [director for corporate law and assurance] advised that, in counsel’s view, with which she concurred, 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."

Mr Finch is due to decide whether to accept the committee's advice shortly.

Comments (35)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:29pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Say It As It Is OK? says...

Paul White is the lowest of the low. Proven to be dishonest time after time. As it is it's the council tax payers, who will end up paying if the case is lost so it's most probably best not to take any further action against this thief.

But why hold these meetings behind closed doors? Are his friends worried that they too will be caught out?
Paul White is the lowest of the low. Proven to be dishonest time after time. As it is it's the council tax payers, who will end up paying if the case is lost so it's most probably best not to take any further action against this thief. But why hold these meetings behind closed doors? Are his friends worried that they too will be caught out? Say It As It Is OK?
  • Score: 39

2:32pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Route88 says...

'Today, the committee was given legal advice behind closed doors despite the opposition of three councillors, who said the public had a right to hear the advice' - Counsel's advice was paid for by us so surely we should have a right to know why his 'Lordship' can keep the money in dispute.
'Today, the committee was given legal advice behind closed doors despite the opposition of three councillors, who said the public had a right to hear the advice' - Counsel's advice was paid for by us so surely we should have a right to know why his 'Lordship' can keep the money in dispute. Route88
  • Score: 36

2:41pm Mon 30 Jun 14

poortaxpayer says...

Cant they strip this odious parasite of his Lordship?
Cant they strip this odious parasite of his Lordship? poortaxpayer
  • Score: 40

2:50pm Mon 30 Jun 14

pembury53 says...

give the guy a break, we all nick a bit, here and there, on expenses.....
give the guy a break, we all nick a bit, here and there, on expenses..... pembury53
  • Score: -54

3:00pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Shrubendlad says...

The fact is that this case cannot be viewed in isolation.
The Conservative Party have distanced itself from this Pig Farmer and his expenses.
The costs are irrelevant-every penny must be aggressively pursued and every opportunity taken to expose the misuse/abuse of Public money by Members of Parliament(Lords and Commons) and elected Local Councillors.
Alleged corruption will continue unless the Watchdogs show their TEETH.
The fact is that this case cannot be viewed in isolation. The Conservative Party have distanced itself from this Pig Farmer and his expenses. The costs are irrelevant-every penny must be aggressively pursued and every opportunity taken to expose the misuse/abuse of Public money by Members of Parliament(Lords and Commons) and elected Local Councillors. Alleged corruption will continue unless the Watchdogs show their TEETH. Shrubendlad
  • Score: 21

3:29pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Linstock says...

Re-rate his property to the highest level for council tax, he either leaves Essex or we get it all back in the end.
How slack is Essex CC that people can walk off with this sort of money on Credit Cards anyway ...no checks on expences?
Re-rate his property to the highest level for council tax, he either leaves Essex or we get it all back in the end. How slack is Essex CC that people can walk off with this sort of money on Credit Cards anyway ...no checks on expences? Linstock
  • Score: 29

3:48pm Mon 30 Jun 14

rayleighrunner says...

If I took £50k of expenses off my company..or even £5k to put it into perspective. I am sure I would be charged by the police and would find myself up in court. I cannot believe a) he is allowed to retain his title b) he doesn't have to pay any of it back c) he is not being charged by the police and d) he still hasn't apologised, attempted to pay any money back or admitted his wrong-doings!!!! How on earth can this be allowed to happen? Essex or certainly S.E. Essex is dominated by Conservative MP's and councillors....how many more are doing this and getting away with it?
If I took £50k of expenses off my company..or even £5k to put it into perspective. I am sure I would be charged by the police and would find myself up in court. I cannot believe a) he is allowed to retain his title b) he doesn't have to pay any of it back c) he is not being charged by the police and d) he still hasn't apologised, attempted to pay any money back or admitted his wrong-doings!!!! How on earth can this be allowed to happen? Essex or certainly S.E. Essex is dominated by Conservative MP's and councillors....how many more are doing this and getting away with it? rayleighrunner
  • Score: 24

3:51pm Mon 30 Jun 14

rayleighrunner says...

How on Earth can this be allowed to happen? If I claimed even a tenth of what he did from my company when I shouldn't have, not only would I have to pay it back i'd probably be charged by the police! I cannot believe a) He is still a 'Lord' b) He doesn't have to pay it back c) He is not being charged and d) He has not apologised or made any attempt to pay the money back or taken responsibility for his actions!! S.E. Essex is dominated by Tory MP's and councillors....how many more are doing this and getting away with it? Probably encouraged to do so by this news!
How on Earth can this be allowed to happen? If I claimed even a tenth of what he did from my company when I shouldn't have, not only would I have to pay it back i'd probably be charged by the police! I cannot believe a) He is still a 'Lord' b) He doesn't have to pay it back c) He is not being charged and d) He has not apologised or made any attempt to pay the money back or taken responsibility for his actions!! S.E. Essex is dominated by Tory MP's and councillors....how many more are doing this and getting away with it? Probably encouraged to do so by this news! rayleighrunner
  • Score: 15

3:56pm Mon 30 Jun 14

iknowbetter says...

Funny thing is anyone of us refuses to pay their council we would be up in court in no time, seems in his case crime does pay. I dare say he had a few friends in that behind closed door meeting.
Funny thing is anyone of us refuses to pay their council we would be up in court in no time, seems in his case crime does pay. I dare say he had a few friends in that behind closed door meeting. iknowbetter
  • Score: 29

4:01pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Alfiee says...

iknowbetter wrote:
Funny thing is anyone of us refuses to pay their council we would be up in court in no time, seems in his case crime does pay. I dare say he had a few friends in that behind closed door meeting.
As they say, it's not what you know, it's who you know.
[quote][p][bold]iknowbetter[/bold] wrote: Funny thing is anyone of us refuses to pay their council we would be up in court in no time, seems in his case crime does pay. I dare say he had a few friends in that behind closed door meeting.[/p][/quote]As they say, it's not what you know, it's who you know. Alfiee
  • Score: 18

4:17pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Shrubendlad says...

rayleighrunner wrote:
How on Earth can this be allowed to happen? If I claimed even a tenth of what he did from my company when I shouldn't have, not only would I have to pay it back i'd probably be charged by the police! I cannot believe a) He is still a 'Lord' b) He doesn't have to pay it back c) He is not being charged and d) He has not apologised or made any attempt to pay the money back or taken responsibility for his actions!! S.E. Essex is dominated by Tory MP's and councillors....how many more are doing this and getting away with it? Probably encouraged to do so by this news!
Some of us are still shocked that the LibDems got away with the Wimpole Road expense fiasco.
Alleged abuse of Public Money is widespread
How many over 55s,claiming public expenses for years,and apparently immune to criticism are trawling the depths of the Public Purse.
[quote][p][bold]rayleighrunner[/bold] wrote: How on Earth can this be allowed to happen? If I claimed even a tenth of what he did from my company when I shouldn't have, not only would I have to pay it back i'd probably be charged by the police! I cannot believe a) He is still a 'Lord' b) He doesn't have to pay it back c) He is not being charged and d) He has not apologised or made any attempt to pay the money back or taken responsibility for his actions!! S.E. Essex is dominated by Tory MP's and councillors....how many more are doing this and getting away with it? Probably encouraged to do so by this news![/p][/quote]Some of us are still shocked that the LibDems got away with the Wimpole Road expense fiasco. Alleged abuse of Public Money is widespread How many over 55s,claiming public expenses for years,and apparently immune to criticism are trawling the depths of the Public Purse. Shrubendlad
  • Score: 10

4:31pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Devils Advocate says...

They used to say "It's the same law for us all." It is just as illegal for a wealthy man to sleep under a bridge as it is for a poor man. Every single day, the wealthy are showing just how easy it is to grease the wheels of justice (so it derails itself). When Cameron said "We are all in this together." Did he mean him and his bend the rules QC brother, or just the Tory party or what? One things for sure. The Sun criticised the 3 Labour Mp's every day of the election run-up, for much less than this on their expenses added together, but left this crook out of their news. This country seems bent from the PM right down to the bottom of the middle classes (They nick pencils I am told) We should rethink the whole of our constitution and sling the bent politicians out. That would, I suppose, only leave myself and Tony Blair, and I can't be trusted.
They used to say "It's the same law for us all." It is just as illegal for a wealthy man to sleep under a bridge as it is for a poor man. Every single day, the wealthy are showing just how easy it is to grease the wheels of justice (so it derails itself). When Cameron said "We are all in this together." Did he mean him and his bend the rules QC brother, or just the Tory party or what? One things for sure. The Sun criticised the 3 Labour Mp's every day of the election run-up, for much less than this on their expenses added together, but left this crook out of their news. This country seems bent from the PM right down to the bottom of the middle classes (They nick pencils I am told) We should rethink the whole of our constitution and sling the bent politicians out. That would, I suppose, only leave myself and Tony Blair, and I can't be trusted. Devils Advocate
  • Score: 9

4:48pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Shrubendlad says...

Devils Advocate wrote:
They used to say "It's the same law for us all." It is just as illegal for a wealthy man to sleep under a bridge as it is for a poor man. Every single day, the wealthy are showing just how easy it is to grease the wheels of justice (so it derails itself). When Cameron said "We are all in this together." Did he mean him and his bend the rules QC brother, or just the Tory party or what? One things for sure. The Sun criticised the 3 Labour Mp's every day of the election run-up, for much less than this on their expenses added together, but left this crook out of their news. This country seems bent from the PM right down to the bottom of the middle classes (They nick pencils I am told) We should rethink the whole of our constitution and sling the bent politicians out. That would, I suppose, only leave myself and Tony Blair, and I can't be trusted.
At least you could share the Blairs £100Million "pension pot".
[quote][p][bold]Devils Advocate[/bold] wrote: They used to say "It's the same law for us all." It is just as illegal for a wealthy man to sleep under a bridge as it is for a poor man. Every single day, the wealthy are showing just how easy it is to grease the wheels of justice (so it derails itself). When Cameron said "We are all in this together." Did he mean him and his bend the rules QC brother, or just the Tory party or what? One things for sure. The Sun criticised the 3 Labour Mp's every day of the election run-up, for much less than this on their expenses added together, but left this crook out of their news. This country seems bent from the PM right down to the bottom of the middle classes (They nick pencils I am told) We should rethink the whole of our constitution and sling the bent politicians out. That would, I suppose, only leave myself and Tony Blair, and I can't be trusted.[/p][/quote]At least you could share the Blairs £100Million "pension pot". Shrubendlad
  • Score: 8

5:00pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Jack222 says...

Appalling.

Why is he still a Lord?
Appalling. Why is he still a Lord? Jack222
  • Score: 19

5:16pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Shrubendlad says...

Jack222 wrote:
Appalling.

Why is he still a Lord?
Because a peerage is a "gift" from the Queen.
He sits in the House of Lords which is effectively the Queens House.
All politicians aim to end their years in the H o L -the equivalent of £1Million annuity in expenses and no compulsory retirement date.
No annoying voters to account to and surrounded by your mates.
[quote][p][bold]Jack222[/bold] wrote: Appalling. Why is he still a Lord?[/p][/quote]Because a peerage is a "gift" from the Queen. He sits in the House of Lords which is effectively the Queens House. All politicians aim to end their years in the H o L -the equivalent of £1Million annuity in expenses and no compulsory retirement date. No annoying voters to account to and surrounded by your mates. Shrubendlad
  • Score: 10

6:39pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Shrubendlad says...

poortaxpayer wrote:
Cant they strip this odious parasite of his Lordship?
The "Establishment" would be more than happy to strip him of his peerage.
The problem is that it would set a precedent.
"Chaps" whose families are close to the Royals might suffer the same fate.
"Chaps" whose families stole their lands and money a few hundred years ago might suffer the same fate.
They don't all vote Tory. Labour and the Lib Dems are there in force.
[quote][p][bold]poortaxpayer[/bold] wrote: Cant they strip this odious parasite of his Lordship?[/p][/quote]The "Establishment" would be more than happy to strip him of his peerage. The problem is that it would set a precedent. "Chaps" whose families are close to the Royals might suffer the same fate. "Chaps" whose families stole their lands and money a few hundred years ago might suffer the same fate. They don't all vote Tory. Labour and the Lib Dems are there in force. Shrubendlad
  • Score: 8

7:00pm Mon 30 Jun 14

John Right says...

More money paid out to benefit scroungers daily in Southend alone, so let's get our priorities straight first.
More money paid out to benefit scroungers daily in Southend alone, so let's get our priorities straight first. John Right
  • Score: -16

7:35pm Mon 30 Jun 14

jolllyboy says...

Justice doesnt have a price. Wake up - how many others will now follow his example.
Justice doesnt have a price. Wake up - how many others will now follow his example. jolllyboy
  • Score: 10

7:48pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Colonel Kurtz says...

If I'm 1p short of my council tax then I get the wrath of satin knock at my door. The innocent always suffer and the crooks go on laughing all the way to the bank
If I'm 1p short of my council tax then I get the wrath of satin knock at my door. The innocent always suffer and the crooks go on laughing all the way to the bank Colonel Kurtz
  • Score: 14

9:47pm Mon 30 Jun 14

roger moore says...

he should be made to pay back every single penny he owes, what a vile greedy odious man hanningfield really is.
he should be made to pay back every single penny he owes, what a vile greedy odious man hanningfield really is. roger moore
  • Score: 12

12:41am Tue 1 Jul 14

ThisYear says...

Brown envelopes and/or old school tie waved about?
Brown envelopes and/or old school tie waved about? ThisYear
  • Score: 8

10:03am Tue 1 Jul 14

Kim Gandy says...

pembury53 wrote:
give the guy a break, we all nick a bit, here and there, on expenses.....
Well if you are a council tax payer, he is nicking from you, you oaf..

But then again, given your attitude, you probably cop out of paying that too in which case we are keeping YOU.

And no "we" don't all nick a bit here and there. You are not speaking for me.

Funny how folk like you feel OK on here spouting this rubbish but I bet you'd never admit to that in assembled company.

This man is a scumbag, for a number of different reasons. I cannot understand why morons like him can't have property seized to the tune of the amount they owe.
[quote][p][bold]pembury53[/bold] wrote: give the guy a break, we all nick a bit, here and there, on expenses.....[/p][/quote]Well if you are a council tax payer, he is nicking from you, you oaf.. But then again, given your attitude, you probably cop out of paying that too in which case we are keeping YOU. And no "we" don't all nick a bit here and there. You are not speaking for me. Funny how folk like you feel OK on here spouting this rubbish but I bet you'd never admit to that in assembled company. This man is a scumbag, for a number of different reasons. I cannot understand why morons like him can't have property seized to the tune of the amount they owe. Kim Gandy
  • Score: 13

11:00am Tue 1 Jul 14

Howard Cháse says...

Is Piggy still claiming expenses?
Is Piggy still claiming expenses? Howard Cháse
  • Score: 5

11:23am Tue 1 Jul 14

Checkout says...

It didn't take them too long to decide to do nothing. ECC is not fit for purpose.
It didn't take them too long to decide to do nothing. ECC is not fit for purpose. Checkout
  • Score: 8

12:06pm Tue 1 Jul 14

pembury53 says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
pembury53 wrote: give the guy a break, we all nick a bit, here and there, on expenses.....
Well if you are a council tax payer, he is nicking from you, you oaf.. But then again, given your attitude, you probably cop out of paying that too in which case we are keeping YOU. And no "we" don't all nick a bit here and there. You are not speaking for me. Funny how folk like you feel OK on here spouting this rubbish but I bet you'd never admit to that in assembled company. This man is a scumbag, for a number of different reasons. I cannot understand why morons like him can't have property seized to the tune of the amount they owe.
"let those without sin cast the first stone"...... come on kim, most people have put in that 'moody' receipt, from time to time, or half hinched a box of paper clips from the office stationary cupboard, ok not quite 50 grand, but it's all relative, and our good lord hanningfield is used to high living, no doubt, so such a sum wouldn't go far in those rarefied circles....... that said, i see no harm in a bit of litter picking, or other such worthy community work, by way of recompense, for the good lord............
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pembury53[/bold] wrote: give the guy a break, we all nick a bit, here and there, on expenses.....[/p][/quote]Well if you are a council tax payer, he is nicking from you, you oaf.. But then again, given your attitude, you probably cop out of paying that too in which case we are keeping YOU. And no "we" don't all nick a bit here and there. You are not speaking for me. Funny how folk like you feel OK on here spouting this rubbish but I bet you'd never admit to that in assembled company. This man is a scumbag, for a number of different reasons. I cannot understand why morons like him can't have property seized to the tune of the amount they owe.[/p][/quote]"let those without sin cast the first stone"...... come on kim, most people have put in that 'moody' receipt, from time to time, or half hinched a box of paper clips from the office stationary cupboard, ok not quite 50 grand, but it's all relative, and our good lord hanningfield is used to high living, no doubt, so such a sum wouldn't go far in those rarefied circles....... that said, i see no harm in a bit of litter picking, or other such worthy community work, by way of recompense, for the good lord............ pembury53
  • Score: -17

1:41pm Tue 1 Jul 14

Kim Gandy says...

http://www.publicati
ons.parliament.uk/pa
/ld201314/ldselect/l
dpriv/181/181.pdf

Research research research....

as opposed to daft comments aimed at other posters.
http://www.publicati ons.parliament.uk/pa /ld201314/ldselect/l dpriv/181/181.pdf Research research research.... as opposed to daft comments aimed at other posters. Kim Gandy
  • Score: 2

4:23pm Tue 1 Jul 14

Jess Jephcott says...

This odious and arrogant man deserves a break - not! I would feel differently if he had apologised for what he did to us all and, by all accounts, seems to be continuing to do.
This odious and arrogant man deserves a break - not! I would feel differently if he had apologised for what he did to us all and, by all accounts, seems to be continuing to do. Jess Jephcott
  • Score: 4

5:29pm Tue 1 Jul 14

jostevejo says...

Disgraceful man! Not even a meaningless 'backed into a corner' apology
Disgraceful man! Not even a meaningless 'backed into a corner' apology jostevejo
  • Score: 7

5:59pm Tue 1 Jul 14

Dave Bruce says...

One rule for one, one rule for another...same old, same old.
If that were you or I who had carried out a bit of creative accounting, or hadn't paid our Council Tax, our feet wouldn't touch the ground! We'd be clapped behind bars in no time!
One rule for one, one rule for another...same old, same old. If that were you or I who had carried out a bit of creative accounting, or hadn't paid our Council Tax, our feet wouldn't touch the ground! We'd be clapped behind bars in no time! Dave Bruce
  • Score: 5

12:18am Wed 2 Jul 14

ThisYear says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
pembury53 wrote:
give the guy a break, we all nick a bit, here and there, on expenses.....
Well if you are a council tax payer, he is nicking from you, you oaf..

But then again, given your attitude, you probably cop out of paying that too in which case we are keeping YOU.

And no "we" don't all nick a bit here and there. You are not speaking for me.

Funny how folk like you feel OK on here spouting this rubbish but I bet you'd never admit to that in assembled company.

This man is a scumbag, for a number of different reasons. I cannot understand why morons like him can't have property seized to the tune of the amount they owe.
Do you pay council tax Gandy?
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pembury53[/bold] wrote: give the guy a break, we all nick a bit, here and there, on expenses.....[/p][/quote]Well if you are a council tax payer, he is nicking from you, you oaf.. But then again, given your attitude, you probably cop out of paying that too in which case we are keeping YOU. And no "we" don't all nick a bit here and there. You are not speaking for me. Funny how folk like you feel OK on here spouting this rubbish but I bet you'd never admit to that in assembled company. This man is a scumbag, for a number of different reasons. I cannot understand why morons like him can't have property seized to the tune of the amount they owe.[/p][/quote]Do you pay council tax Gandy? ThisYear
  • Score: -4

1:36am Wed 2 Jul 14

Boris says...

As a council tax payer, I expect ECC to sue the failed pig farmer for that money, and get it. It doesn't matter if it costs half a million to recover £50,000. It is the principle that crime must not be allowed to pay.
And if Finch and his mates do not understand that, it proves that all they want to do is protect their Tory mates, and of course their Chief Executive, who should have been checking White's expenses and refusing to pay for stuff that could not be justified.
As a council tax payer, I expect ECC to sue the failed pig farmer for that money, and get it. It doesn't matter if it costs half a million to recover £50,000. It is the principle that crime must not be allowed to pay. And if Finch and his mates do not understand that, it proves that all they want to do is protect their Tory mates, and of course their Chief Executive, who should have been checking White's expenses and refusing to pay for stuff that could not be justified. Boris
  • Score: 4

1:34pm Wed 2 Jul 14

olliewestover says...

I wonder if it's possible to bring a private case against him...would be very satisfying.
I wonder if it's possible to bring a private case against him...would be very satisfying. olliewestover
  • Score: 3

2:28pm Thu 3 Jul 14

ecc tax payer says...

wonder if it's because the CEO of ECC was at most of the extravagant lunches he claimed for. She's still in her job - when is she going to be investigated and sacked
wonder if it's because the CEO of ECC was at most of the extravagant lunches he claimed for. She's still in her job - when is she going to be investigated and sacked ecc tax payer
  • Score: 1

2:09am Mon 7 Jul 14

Boris says...

olliewestover wrote:
I wonder if it's possible to bring a private case against him...would be very satisfying.
Can you afford it?
[quote][p][bold]olliewestover[/bold] wrote: I wonder if it's possible to bring a private case against him...would be very satisfying.[/p][/quote]Can you afford it? Boris
  • Score: 0

2:11am Mon 7 Jul 14

Boris says...

ecc tax payer wrote:
wonder if it's because the CEO of ECC was at most of the extravagant lunches he claimed for. She's still in her job - when is she going to be investigated and sacked
She used to approve his expense claims, didn't she?
[quote][p][bold]ecc tax payer[/bold] wrote: wonder if it's because the CEO of ECC was at most of the extravagant lunches he claimed for. She's still in her job - when is she going to be investigated and sacked[/p][/quote]She used to approve his expense claims, didn't she? Boris
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree