Fraud Lord Hanningfield claims he is living on a state pension after the disgraced peer was jailed

Lord H:

Lord H: "I'm living on a state pension"

First published in Local News
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DISGRACED peer Lord Hanningfield says he is now living life on the breadline after the parliamentary expenses scandal ended his career and tarnished his years of public service.

Lord Hanningfield, 73, jailed for parliamentary expenses fraud in 2011, says he is getting by on his state pension and a “small” pension from his time as a farmer.

His bungalow in West Hanningfield is on the market, as he attempts to downsize, and his savings have been wiped out to pay legal bills associated with his court case over expenses, which saw him jailed for nine months.

But he says when he looks back on how his career collapsed so spectacularly he still can’t believe how – or why – it happened.

He was jailed when he was found guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court for false accounting at the House of Lords – one allegation was he had claimed an overnight stay in London when he was actually on a plane to India.

He says: “We were encouraged to claim anything – to claim as many expenses as you could, because you don’t get paid much.

“One of the headlines was I claimed for an overnight stay in London when I was actually on a plane to India. What was ironic was that was actually OK.

“Because I was on parliamentary duty, it didn’t matter where I was, I could still claim the overnight allowance. The fact I was on a plane to India while on parliamentary duty was neither here or there. There was nothing wrong with that.

“I have never named names, but there were dozens of people who were doing that.

“I didn’t think I was doing anything criminal. I would never do anything criminal. I thought because everyone said “claim everything” it was legitimate, particularly as I wasn’t keeping the money for myself. I was using it to pay someone.”

Lord Hanningfield feels much of the fall-out following his court case was because the public assumed he was a rich man skimming even more cash from the public purse.

But he says the reality was a long way from that.

“In those days I was claiming about £28,000 a year – and I was paying someone a bit more than £20,000, so there wasn’t a lot left for myself for general expenses.

You have to eat, have reasonable clothes, you have to do all sorts of things, you have to treat people a lot, you have to pay for things in the House of Lords.

“As a peer, there is no salary.

Now there’s a flat rate of £300 a day. Then it was £50 a day for being a peer, but there were various categories which took it up towards £280 a day.

“I was at the House of Lords, on average, about 100 days a year.

"At £280 a day, that’s about £28,000.

Echo: On the market - Hanningfield's bungalow

“When it’s in the papers we can claim £300 a day, people think you can get £300 for 300 days a year.

“Three hundred days a year at £300 sounds like a reasonable amount of money to anybody, but when it’s 100 days, it’s not so good.

“You have to be a peer for 365 days a year. You have to act as a peer, you have to sort the post every day.

“We’re not given any staff at all. When you’re an MP, you get £200,000 a year for your staff.

Most MPs have about four people.

A peer doesn’t get any staffing at all – you have to pay staff yourself if you want some help.

“That £300 flat daily rate helps pay for it.

“It’s accepted, more or less, that you claim expenses so you can pay any staff you have, and to help you live day to day.

“When I was asked to be a peer, they said you get generous expenses. At my trial, the judge said to me that if I couldn’t afford to be a peer, I shouldn’t be one.

That’s a bit of a funny thing to say. So he’s saying that everyone in politics who wants to help, must have a private income. I didn’t think that was fair at all.

“I don’t have family wealth to fall back on. I’m very, very hard up now. I paid my own legal fees to start with – I had some Legal Aid in the end – and I had to pay money back to various sources, so the whole thing cost me more than £250,000. It was horrific, and that’s eaten any private income I had. It has wiped me out. I have a mortgage now, which isn’t really what you want when you’re almost 74 years old.”

Lord Hanningfield admits the fall-out from the case has been severe and says he is now living on a state pension He says: “This has wiped me out. I don’t have savings any more. My house is on the market and I’m downsizing. I don’t live in a big house.

“I am living now on my state pension. Before I got into politics I was a farmer, and I have a small farming pension. That’s all I have. It’s not enough.

“I have mortgaged my house to pay my debts. I was mortgage free until I started, and I would have had enough to keep me going. But I can’t afford to pay a mortgage now.

“I feel bemused by it all, and why it has happened to me.

“People see I’m a peer, and a Lord, and they think my expenses were the icing on a very big cake. They weren’t. They were what I needed to live on.

“A lot of Lords do have very big pensions. If you were a judge or a general, or something like that, you have reasonable pensions.

“A lot of people now in the House of Lords are just ordinary people, which is how it should be.

“In the old days, 200 or 300 years ago, Lords could make money by dishing out favours and things like that. Obviously these days there’s nothing like that. I realise I’m a peer and I am news in Essex. But on Google someone I have tried to help has said enough is enough, and that I should be able to get on with my life. I have done my time.

“My punishment has been quite considerable. No-one else would have been sent to prison for £13,000. I’d have expected a suspended sentence or probation to help young offenders or young people.

“It’s funny, but in prison I was asked by some people if, when they got out, they could they use my castle for a rave.

“I live in a bungalow in West Hanningfield. I’ve been an ordinary person my whole life. But why shouldn’t ordinary people be in politics?

“My crime, if it is a crime, is pretty trivial really.

“I want to get back to the Lords and fight for the causes I believe in. I am very keen on supporting Essex.

“I make enemies because I’m pretty determined about things. I pursue causes.

“I feel I could have been helped a little bit more by the House of Lords during my trial, but of course it was the time of expenses being right at the top of the agenda and they didn’t want to get involved, and I suffered for that.

“So many people could have said I didn’t do anything differently to hundreds of other people, as other politicians have said to me. I drew the short straw.

"Plenty of people have said to me, even in the Lords, why was I sent to prison when other people weren’t, for doing the same thing?”

Comments (22)

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1:00pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Howard Cháse says...

We're all in it together Paul....
We're all in it together Paul.... Howard Cháse
  • Score: 7

1:13pm Tue 5 Aug 14

pembury53 says...

I said a few weeks back that people should give lord H a break, as we all nick a bit, here and there, and this story proves how right I was..... I hope everyone is satisfied that a basically decent bloke has been singled out and victimised, and now struggles as a commoner, the trappings of high office long gone.....
I said a few weeks back that people should give lord H a break, as we all nick a bit, here and there, and this story proves how right I was..... I hope everyone is satisfied that a basically decent bloke has been singled out and victimised, and now struggles as a commoner, the trappings of high office long gone..... pembury53
  • Score: -22

1:33pm Tue 5 Aug 14

DAGASMAN says...

pembury53 wrote:
I said a few weeks back that people should give lord H a break, as we all nick a bit, here and there, and this story proves how right I was..... I hope everyone is satisfied that a basically decent bloke has been singled out and victimised, and now struggles as a commoner, the trappings of high office long gone.....
Are you stupid? It doesnt mean its alright, it means they are all thieves!
[quote][p][bold]pembury53[/bold] wrote: I said a few weeks back that people should give lord H a break, as we all nick a bit, here and there, and this story proves how right I was..... I hope everyone is satisfied that a basically decent bloke has been singled out and victimised, and now struggles as a commoner, the trappings of high office long gone.....[/p][/quote]Are you stupid? It doesnt mean its alright, it means they are all thieves! DAGASMAN
  • Score: 23

1:37pm Tue 5 Aug 14

marshman says...

Oh my poor bleeding heart.
Oh my poor bleeding heart. marshman
  • Score: 16

1:48pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Essexman10 says...

I cannot believe the gal of this man. When active as a leading Essex Tory Councillor, he was instrumental in cutting supposed public expenditure 'waste', and was very vocal in justifying cutting back on Council services as a result. Yet he was claiming tens of thousands in Councillor 'expenses' at the very same time, let alone his recent prison term for claiming unjustified House of Lords 'expenses'. Now he is claiming 'poverty', living on his State Pension and a 'small' farmers pension. I suspect 'small' to him would be quite sizable to anyone else. How on earth 'pembury53' could comment "a basically decent bloke has been singled out and victimised" beggars belief. Essentially, a hypocrite has received poetic justice.
I cannot believe the gal of this man. When active as a leading Essex Tory Councillor, he was instrumental in cutting supposed public expenditure 'waste', and was very vocal in justifying cutting back on Council services as a result. Yet he was claiming tens of thousands in Councillor 'expenses' at the very same time, let alone his recent prison term for claiming unjustified House of Lords 'expenses'. Now he is claiming 'poverty', living on his State Pension and a 'small' farmers pension. I suspect 'small' to him would be quite sizable to anyone else. How on earth 'pembury53' could comment "a basically decent bloke has been singled out and victimised" beggars belief. Essentially, a hypocrite has received poetic justice. Essexman10
  • Score: 28

2:14pm Tue 5 Aug 14

eurodoomed says...

Gordon Brown claims a parliamentary salary and never turns up. When does his case come up in court? Quite apart from this, his incompetence/greed destroyed the pensions of millions of people when he launched a tax raid, and he destroyed the GP system making it almost impossible to see a doctor, while paying them hugely increased salaries. I haven't even mentioned his boom and bust which wrecked the economy and has left a poisonous legacy of debt for generations yet to come.

Leave Lord Hanningfield alone. He has paid his debt to society, while Brown has left us all impoverished yet has got off scot free.
Gordon Brown claims a parliamentary salary and never turns up. When does his case come up in court? Quite apart from this, his incompetence/greed destroyed the pensions of millions of people when he launched a tax raid, and he destroyed the GP system making it almost impossible to see a doctor, while paying them hugely increased salaries. I haven't even mentioned his boom and bust which wrecked the economy and has left a poisonous legacy of debt for generations yet to come. Leave Lord Hanningfield alone. He has paid his debt to society, while Brown has left us all impoverished yet has got off scot free. eurodoomed
  • Score: -14

2:34pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Essexman10 says...

Oh yes. I forgot to mention. Lord Hanningfield is quoted in the article as saying "I want to get back to the Lords and fight for the causes I believe in.". Exactly right. His 'causes' begins and end with himself. He want to get back to the Lords so he can start claiming his daily 'expenses' again. Such is the calibre of this man, sorry 'Lord'.
Oh yes. I forgot to mention. Lord Hanningfield is quoted in the article as saying "I want to get back to the Lords and fight for the causes I believe in.". Exactly right. His 'causes' begins and end with himself. He want to get back to the Lords so he can start claiming his daily 'expenses' again. Such is the calibre of this man, sorry 'Lord'. Essexman10
  • Score: 19

2:43pm Tue 5 Aug 14

mr.happy says...

His trough was taken away and now pleads for mercy!!!
His trough was taken away and now pleads for mercy!!! mr.happy
  • Score: 18

3:26pm Tue 5 Aug 14

John Right says...

Got lots of excuses, for his ill gotten gains
But alas lost it in the legal costing drains
Got lots of excuses, for his ill gotten gains But alas lost it in the legal costing drains John Right
  • Score: 10

3:35pm Tue 5 Aug 14

GrumpyofLeigh says...

Pass me a Kleenex somebody please
Pass me a Kleenex somebody please GrumpyofLeigh
  • Score: 13

3:48pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Keptquiettillnow says...

pembury53 wrote:
I said a few weeks back that people should give lord H a break, as we all nick a bit, here and there, and this story proves how right I was..... I hope everyone is satisfied that a basically decent bloke has been singled out and victimised, and now struggles as a commoner, the trappings of high office long gone.....
Satirical comedy, surely ?
[quote][p][bold]pembury53[/bold] wrote: I said a few weeks back that people should give lord H a break, as we all nick a bit, here and there, and this story proves how right I was..... I hope everyone is satisfied that a basically decent bloke has been singled out and victimised, and now struggles as a commoner, the trappings of high office long gone.....[/p][/quote]Satirical comedy, surely ? Keptquiettillnow
  • Score: 6

3:57pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Essexman10 says...

Keptquiettillnow wrote:
pembury53 wrote:
I said a few weeks back that people should give lord H a break, as we all nick a bit, here and there, and this story proves how right I was..... I hope everyone is satisfied that a basically decent bloke has been singled out and victimised, and now struggles as a commoner, the trappings of high office long gone.....
Satirical comedy, surely ?
Unfortunately not. People with low moral scruples see others with similar low moral scruples as "basically decent".
[quote][p][bold]Keptquiettillnow[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pembury53[/bold] wrote: I said a few weeks back that people should give lord H a break, as we all nick a bit, here and there, and this story proves how right I was..... I hope everyone is satisfied that a basically decent bloke has been singled out and victimised, and now struggles as a commoner, the trappings of high office long gone.....[/p][/quote]Satirical comedy, surely ?[/p][/quote]Unfortunately not. People with low moral scruples see others with similar low moral scruples as "basically decent". Essexman10
  • Score: 6

3:59pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Jack222 says...

He still doesn't get it does he?

He was a politician who broke the law and expects sympathy....
He still doesn't get it does he? He was a politician who broke the law and expects sympathy.... Jack222
  • Score: 13

6:03pm Tue 5 Aug 14

John Bull 40 says...

Give him a break which leg would you suggest.
Give him a break which leg would you suggest. John Bull 40
  • Score: 8

7:15pm Tue 5 Aug 14

GrumpyofLeigh says...

Keptquiettillnow wrote:
pembury53 wrote:
I said a few weeks back that people should give lord H a break, as we all nick a bit, here and there, and this story proves how right I was..... I hope everyone is satisfied that a basically decent bloke has been singled out and victimised, and now struggles as a commoner, the trappings of high office long gone.....
Satirical comedy, surely ?
He should be hounded to his (early) grave and I hope that voters and constituents through the country do the same to their local reps. Just because a system was in place which was ripe for exploitation, didnt mean it HAD to be exploited. When the MP's expenses scandal broke, two MPs who you knew would be clean were Ann Widdecombe and Denis Skinner - Marmite figures both but conviction politicians: now there's an unusual concept.
[quote][p][bold]Keptquiettillnow[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pembury53[/bold] wrote: I said a few weeks back that people should give lord H a break, as we all nick a bit, here and there, and this story proves how right I was..... I hope everyone is satisfied that a basically decent bloke has been singled out and victimised, and now struggles as a commoner, the trappings of high office long gone.....[/p][/quote]Satirical comedy, surely ?[/p][/quote]He should be hounded to his (early) grave and I hope that voters and constituents through the country do the same to their local reps. Just because a system was in place which was ripe for exploitation, didnt mean it HAD to be exploited. When the MP's expenses scandal broke, two MPs who you knew would be clean were Ann Widdecombe and Denis Skinner - Marmite figures both but conviction politicians: now there's an unusual concept. GrumpyofLeigh
  • Score: 6

8:07pm Tue 5 Aug 14

poortaxpayer says...

Boo f*cking hoo you pathetic scrounging criminal scum bag. Why don't you do us all a favour and crawl back under your rock you thieving, lying cheat. We don't want to hear your self pitying mewing. You stole, you got caught and you were punished. Your criminal activity ended your high profile career. Just p**s off and go away. We really don't care about your bleating.

Millions of people have to cope on a mere state pension with no savings. Millions are destitute and struggling financially because of the policies of your Conservative Party. I have no pity regarding your situation because your situation is down to only one persons fault and he's staring back at you in the mirror.

Just go away you pathetic excuse of an individual.
Boo f*cking hoo you pathetic scrounging criminal scum bag. Why don't you do us all a favour and crawl back under your rock you thieving, lying cheat. We don't want to hear your self pitying mewing. You stole, you got caught and you were punished. Your criminal activity ended your high profile career. Just p**s off and go away. We really don't care about your bleating. Millions of people have to cope on a mere state pension with no savings. Millions are destitute and struggling financially because of the policies of your Conservative Party. I have no pity regarding your situation because your situation is down to only one persons fault and he's staring back at you in the mirror. Just go away you pathetic excuse of an individual. poortaxpayer
  • Score: 11

8:13pm Tue 5 Aug 14

girlie71 says...

I wish I had £280 a day to live on .. get real, you enjoyed the spoils of your ill gotten gains when you had them ... now you know how us ordinary people feel .. anyway I thought if you had been in prison you lost all titles .. jeffery archer did
I wish I had £280 a day to live on .. get real, you enjoyed the spoils of your ill gotten gains when you had them ... now you know how us ordinary people feel .. anyway I thought if you had been in prison you lost all titles .. jeffery archer did girlie71
  • Score: 6

8:38pm Tue 5 Aug 14

DAGASMAN says...

He's moaning because he now has to live on the same kind of money the rest of us do, he can always sell his bungalow and buy a nice flat in craylands?
He's moaning because he now has to live on the same kind of money the rest of us do, he can always sell his bungalow and buy a nice flat in craylands? DAGASMAN
  • Score: 6

8:22am Wed 6 Aug 14

Howard Cháse says...

DAGASMAN wrote:
He's moaning because he now has to live on the same kind of money the rest of us do, he can always sell his bungalow and buy a nice flat in craylands?
Maybe they'll put him in Brooke House...
[quote][p][bold]DAGASMAN[/bold] wrote: He's moaning because he now has to live on the same kind of money the rest of us do, he can always sell his bungalow and buy a nice flat in craylands?[/p][/quote]Maybe they'll put him in Brooke House... Howard Cháse
  • Score: 2

9:19am Wed 6 Aug 14

John Right says...

He's got his bungalow up for 600 grand, then he'll probably move into a flat in Rayleigh next to Gandy...
He's got his bungalow up for 600 grand, then he'll probably move into a flat in Rayleigh next to Gandy... John Right
  • Score: -1

7:18pm Wed 6 Aug 14

poortaxpayer says...

Howard Cháse wrote:
DAGASMAN wrote:
He's moaning because he now has to live on the same kind of money the rest of us do, he can always sell his bungalow and buy a nice flat in craylands?
Maybe they'll put him in Brooke House...
Or a caravan on Dale Farm :)
[quote][p][bold]Howard Cháse[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]DAGASMAN[/bold] wrote: He's moaning because he now has to live on the same kind of money the rest of us do, he can always sell his bungalow and buy a nice flat in craylands?[/p][/quote]Maybe they'll put him in Brooke House...[/p][/quote]Or a caravan on Dale Farm :) poortaxpayer
  • Score: 1

7:21pm Wed 6 Aug 14

poortaxpayer says...

John Bull 40 wrote:
Give him a break which leg would you suggest.
Neck would be better...

...but start on the toes and work your way up.
[quote][p][bold]John Bull 40[/bold] wrote: Give him a break which leg would you suggest.[/p][/quote]Neck would be better... ...but start on the toes and work your way up. poortaxpayer
  • Score: 2

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