Peers were routinely fiddling their expenses ‘day in and day out’ in the House of Lords, a court heard yesterday.
It was ‘common practice’ to make bogus claims for second home and mileage allowances – and to boost income by doing so was widely regarded as ‘perfectly acceptable’.
Tory peer Lord Taylor of Warwick was even told he would be ‘crazy’ not to charge for a second home outside London, it was alleged – even though his only home was in Ealing.
So the ex-barrister and one-time Tory Party election candidate filled in forms that purported to show his main home was in Oxfordshire, and that he had to travel to the capital and stay overnight on Parliamentary business.
But he had never stayed at the Oxfordshire address, and had no connection with it beyond the fact it belonged to his half nephew.
The alleged deception meant he was able to claim a total of £11,000 in subsistence and mileage allowances between March 2006 and October 2007.
Later he told a journalist his main home until 2007 was ‘the Taylor family home’ in Solihull, where his elderly mother lived. But she died in 2001 and the house was sold soon afterwards, the court heard.
Lord Taylor, who pleaded not guilty to six counts of false accounting, did not deny he had made the claims – but insisted he had not done so dishonestly.