Lord Hanningfield expenses: Essex County Council considers civil case

Lord Hanningfield Lord Hanningfield was leader of Essex County Council from 2001 until 2010

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Disgraced peer Lord Hanningfield could face civil proceedings over his expenses claims during his time as leader of Essex County Council.

A report on his compliance with procedures is to be considered by the internal audit committee on Monday.

The report has been compiled over the past four years but was not published while police were still investigating.

The Essex force said last month that the peer faces no further police action.

Lord Hanningfield's spend on the credit card included

  • £ 9,396 on flights to the US for himself and a council officer and £4,614 on flights to Shanghai
  • £3,840 for five people to stay at the four-star Norfolk Royale, Bournemouth (length of stay not specified).
  • £2.89 at a noodle bar in Mumbai
  • £61.95 on "books for travel".
  • £217.54 Dinner for two in Brussels
  • £230 on a day at Goodwood racecourse
  • £1,180 accommodation for three people at Chewton Glen Hotel and Spa in Hampshire (length of stay not specified)
  • £467 Dinner for Lord Hanningfield and two other lords at Gordon Ramsey restaurant in London
  • £18.99 charger for his phone
  • £2,000 on food, travel and accommodation, Labour Party conference
  • £540.25 Dinner at 15 in Cornwall (Jamie Oliver restaurant)
  • £518.25 The following night, dinner at Seafood restaurant, Padstow (Rick Stein's restaurant)
  • £736 Christmas lunch in Chelmsford for council officers
  • £8,051 Flights to CGLF conference for Lord Hanningfield and officer (destination unspecified)
  • £23.27 for lunch at Thelma and Louise café in Sydney
  • £538.78 House of Lords dinner for borough mayor, LH and two others
  • £3.06 drinks claim while on US trip
  • £120 Accommodation for chauffeur, King's Lynn, Norfolk
  • £372.40 on Limousine hire
  • £905.60 Dinner at Lib Dem Conference
  • £107 on drinks for four in Hot Springs, USA
  • £544 drinks bill for one month in House of Lords
  • £5,274.51 on accommodation in India

Lord Hanningfield is yet comment on the report.

He served nine weeks of a nine-month sentence for parliamentary expenses fraud totalling nearly £14,000. He was freed in September 2011.

The peer, whose name is Paul White, became leader of the council in 2000 and was issued with a credit card, the report said.

Some of the spending on the card was not backed by receipts and there were other discrepancies, as several people had access to it.

The report claims that council officers had offered advice to Lord Hanningfield on the use of the cards several times.

"Issues related to lack of receipts and other information to establish if expenditure was genuinely related to Essex County Council," the report said.

Officers had every expectation that Lord Hanningfield would take heed of advice, the report claims.

However, the report said he ignored their advice.

The report said: "The work to assist the police has required significant officer and member time and has also cost the authority in terms of reputational damage.

"The council is now reviewing the transactions in detail to determine what, if any, further civil action should be taken if Lord Hanningfield fails to discuss the matter further with us."

Last month police and the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence to make a criminal case against the peer over his expenses claims during his time as leader of Essex County Council and closed their files.

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