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Peer of the Week: Lord Hanningfield

Author: Emily Randall

Published on Jun 19, 2012

Peer of the Week: Lord Hanningfield

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 he is:

  • A former pig farmer, born Paul White, who became a Conservative Member of the House of Lords after being given a peerage in 1998
  • He served as a County Councillor for Essex from 1970 to 2010, becoming Council Leader in 2001, and also helped to set up the Local Government Association
  • He has served a number of roles for the Conservatives, including Opposition Whip and the Shadow Ministerial positions of Education, Transport and Business


Voting and Attendance Records:

  • He has voted in the Lords on 264 occasions, 263 of which with the rest of his party, giving him a rebellion rate of just 0.38%, though he has not voted since July 2010
  • Between October 2010 and March 2011, the period for which data is available, he still attended Parliament on 28 days despite not voting, and claimed £9,137.40, tax free, in expenses



  • He was a central figure in the expenses scandal, with claims totalling £200,000
  • £13,379 of that total was falsely claimed for overnight stays in London when he was not in the capital, which led to him being put on trial in May 2011 and sentenced to 9 months in prison
  • However, he went on to serve just a quarter of his sentence before being released on licence in September 2011, only to be arrested again just 2 days later for expenses claimed from Essex County Council
  • In April 2012, despite his conviction and further arrest, Lord Hanningfield returned to the House of Lords following the end of his suspension
  • In May 2014, he was suspended from the Lords for a year and ordered to repay £3,300 in expenses he had claimed for 11 days on which he spent less than 40 minutes in Parliament



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