Stay Informed

Peer of the Week - Baroness Uddin

Author: Jon Narcross

Published on Sep 26, 2012

Peer of the Week - Baroness Uddin

Our Peer of the Week series aims to shed some light on the members of the House of Lords who contribute to making laws in the UK. Each week, we’ll look at the chosen Peer’s background, voting and attendance records as well as any controversy associated with their actions, and question whether these really are the best people to be involved in the legislative process

Who she is:

  • Manzila Pola Uddin was raised to the peerage as Baroness Uddin, of Bethnal Green, in 1998
  • A Labour life peer, she lost the Labour Whip when suspended for false expenses claims in October 2010
  • Her career started in youth, community and social work in East London before becoming the first Bangladeshi local councillor in Britain and then Deputy Leader of Tower Hamlets
  • When raised to the peerage, she became the first Muslim and the first Bangladeshi peer

Attendance, Voting and Expenses Records:

  • Since November 1999, she has voted 470 times out of a possible 1668 and has rebelled against her the rest of her party on 3.46% of occasions
  • One of those votes was for a Conservative amendment that required the only kind of couple to be allowed to adopt to be a married couple
  • Several of her rebellions against her party were votes for all forms of elected House  of Lords (80:20, 60:40, etc) over a 100% appointed House
  • In 2011, she did not attend in the House of Lords at all, and so was unable to vote or claim any expenses

Controversy:

  • She was suspended from the House for claiming overnight expenses by registering her main home as a flat in Kent, when she was actually living in a housing association-run property near the centre of London, paying a heavily subsidised rent
  • The Crown Prosecution Service was unable to bring a case against her because the Lords expenses scheme offers a very loose definition of a peer’s “main home”, stating that their ‘only or main’ residence need only be visited once a month
  • Lords official responded to criticism by stating that it had no power to force her to settle her debt or stop her returning to the House
  • Claiming to be unable to repay from her own sources, despite owning the flat in Maidstone, she borrowed £124,000, interest-free, from friends and supporters to repay the debt
  • The flat in Maidstone has now been declared on the register of interests and is recorded as being rented out

 

Categories

Share

Next entry: The poetry of the constitutional reform movement

Previous entry: Top news today: PCC elections, donors, secret courts