British lord jailed for expenses fraud

31st May 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Conservative member of Britain's upper house of parliament was jailed for a year on Tuesday for fiddling his parliamentary expenses.

Lord John Taylor, 58, became the fifth lawmaker to be jailed over the scandal which rocked British politics in 2009.

Taylor, a former lawyer who became the first black Conservative peer when he took his seat in the House of Lords in 1996, claimed more than £11,000 ($18,140, 12,600 euros) for travel and overnight subsistence.

In evidence to Southwark Crown Court in London, it emerged he told the House of Lords members' expenses office that his main residence was a house in Oxford, which was owned by his nephew, when in fact he lived in London.

Taylor told his trial that he understood he only needed a "family connection" to a property to call it a main residence on his claim forms.

He also maintained he had pleaded not guilty because he had only been following advice given to him by fellow peers that nominating a residence outside of the capital was a way to earn money "in lieu of salary".

He was convicted by a jury in January.

Sentencing Taylor to 12 months in jail, judge John Saunders said the expenses scandal had "left an indelible stain on Parliament".

The scandal, which emerged after a newspaper obtained details of lawmakers' claims for the reimbursement of everything from ornamental duck houses to porn films, forced a shake-up of the system of parliamentary allowances.

Another Conservative peer, Paul White, known as Lord Hanningfield, will be sentenced next month after he was found guilty last week of fraudulently claiming nearly £14,000 in his Lords expenses.

© 2011 AFP

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