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Peer held in council expenses probe

Expenses cheat Lord Hanningfield has been arrested over allegations he made fraudulent claims while leader of his local council.

The former Tory peer - who has already been jailed for fiddling his House of Lords expenses - was questioned over allegations he put in fraudulent claims while leader of Essex County Council, sources said.

A statement from Essex Police said: "A 70-year-old man from the Chelmsford area has been arrested... for fraud as part of an investigation into expenses claims at Essex County Council."

The politician - who was born Paul White - has been released on bail until January 18 "pending further inquiries".

Question marks over his claims via the local authority were first raised by the local Lib Dem opposition.

An Essex County Council spokesman said: "Essex County Council is continuing to assist Essex Police in the ongoing investigation, therefore it would be inappropriate for us to comment further."

Lord Hanningfield was recently freed from prison after serving only a quarter of his sentence.

The former pig farmer from West Hanningfield, near Chelmsford, Essex, received a nine-month sentence in July after falsely claiming nearly £14,000.

He fiddled his parliamentary expenses for overnight stays in London when he was not in the capital, including one occasion when he was actually on board a flight to India.

Giving evidence, he alleged that most other peers treated the House of Lords as a "club", turning up there for only 10 minutes to claim their daily allowance.


From Belfast Telegraph