NPR logo Worst Punishment For English Peers In Centuries


Worst Punishment For English Peers In Centuries

Baroness Uddin is one of three members of the House of Lords suspended for filing false expense claims. Tim Ireland/PA Wire /EMPPL PA Wire hide caption

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Tim Ireland/PA Wire /EMPPL PA Wire

Sometimes there are certain gifts that keep on giving. Britain seems to be holding that spot this week, closely followed by France, I suppose.

Anyway, as Britons are coming to grips with spending cuts so large it makes even an America wince, it comes out that members of the House of Lords have been padding their nest, so to speak.

Baroness Uddin, Lord Paul, Lord Bhatia were all suspended and ordered to pay restitution for falsely claiming overnight allowances. Basically, until recently, peers whose main homes were outside of the M25 (the beltway around London) got approximately $275 a night so they could pay for a place in London when they had to be there for official business.

All three claimed their main homes elsewhere and pocketed the money. Baroness Pola Uddin must re-pay nearly $200,000 dollars. They've all been suspended for various lengths of time, Uddin until 2012. The Independent reports these are the stiffest penalties put on members of the House of Lords in 300 years for their actions:

Lady Uddin claimed more than £100,000 between 2005 and 2010 by stating that her main residence was a small flat in Maidstone, Kent, rather than her family home in east London.

Lord Bhatia had claimed £27,446 in expenses on the basis that his main home was a small flat occupied by his brother in Reigate, Surrey, even though he and his wife were listed on the electoral roll at their long-standing address in Hampton, south-west London.

Lord Paul, a steel magnate and one of Britain's wealthiest men, lived in London but designated a one-bedroom flat in an Oxfordshire hotel that he owned as his main home.