Lord Bhatia faces House of Lords suspension over 'double claiming' of expenses

A peer is facing an eight-month suspension from the House of Lords over the "double claiming" of hundreds of pounds in expenses.

The Lords Privileges and Conduct Committee found Lord Bhatia claimed mileage from the Lords on 63 occasions while also claiming from another organisation.

It said the peer - who sits as an unaffiliated independent - had breached the Lords' code of conduct by "failing to act on his personal honour" and should repay the £756 he had wrongly claimed.

It is the second time that Lord Bhatia has faced suspension from the House, having been barred for eight months in October 2010 for wrongly claiming £27,466 in overnight allowances and mileage expenses.

The current case follows a BBC Two Newsnight report from December 2013 which alleged that he had been claiming expenses from both the Lords and the Ethnic Minority Foundation for the same journeys.

He subsequently admitted double claiming for the 30-mile round trip between his home in Hampton and Westminster on 63 days between January and July 2010 - saying he had been unaware of what was happening as his claims were prepared by an assistant.

An inquiry by the Lords Commissioner for Standards Paul Kernaghan was suspended while the Metropolitan Police investigated the same claims, but resumed in October 2015 after the police decided there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges.

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