Disgraced peer claimed £286k in expenses

By Charles Maggs

Former Tory peer Lord Hanningfield claimed nearly £300,000 over a five-year period when he was leader of Essex county council, it has emerged.

Between 2005 and 2010 he racked up the colossal claims on a council credit card, including bills for food, flights and hotels.

Hanningfield has already been jailed for fraudulently claiming £28,000 in parliamentary expenses. He was ordered to pay the money back and was eleased after serving just nine weeks of a nine-month sentence.

The latest figures were released by Essex country council just two days after police decided there was insufficient evidence to charge him for another count of unauthorised expenditure.

"Allegations of unauthorised expenditure against a 71-year-old man from Essex, originally made to Essex police by Essex country council, have been fully investigated by the City of London police economic crime directorate, after being referred to them in December 2011," a spokesman said.

He now sits as a crossbench peer after beeing kicked out of the Conservative party.