Paul White, Baron Hanningfield
|The Lord Hanningfield
|Member (Life Peer)
House of Lords
Essex County Council
|Succeeded by||Peter Martin|
Local Government Association
Association of County Councils
Council of Local Education Authorities
Essex County Council
Essex County Council
|Born||Paul Edward Winston White
16 September 1940
Chelmsford, United Kingdom
|Political party||Conservative (until 2010)
No affiliation (2010 onwards)
|Alma mater||King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford|
Paul Edward Winston, Baron Hanningfield (born 16 September 1940) is a British politician and member of the House of Lords. He served in various leadership roles in local government as a Conservative and was influential in the establishment of the Local Government Association. He achieved notoriety in the Parliamentary Expenses Scandal, when he was convicted of false accounting and sent to prison. Following his release, he resumed his parliamentary career as an independent peer.
Hanningfield was born Paul Edward Winston White, but his legal name became 'Paul Edward Winston, Baron Hanningfield' on his elevation to the peerage in 1998. He is known popularly as 'Lord Hanningfield'.
The son of Edward Ernest William White and Irene Joyce Gertrude Williamson, Hanningfield was educated at King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford and received a Nuffield Scholarship for Agriculture.
In 1962 Hanningfield was appointed Chairman of the Young Farmers, and at the same time became a member of the Executive of Chelmsford Conservative Party, a position he held until 1999. He was first elected to Essex County Council in 1970 and served as Chairman of the council from 1989 to 1992. He was also chair of the Council of Local Education Authorities between 1990 and 1992, leader of Association of County Councils between 1995 and 1997.
In 1998 Hanningfield was given his peerage: this recognized his work helping to set up the Local Government Association. From 1997 to 2001, Hanningfield was deputy chair and Conservative Group Leader of the Local Government Association. He served as leader of Essex County Council from 2001 until his resignation in 2010. Hanningfield was also a member of the Court of Essex University and a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Essex.
Lobbying for rural communities
On 18 March 2009 the Countryside Alliance awarded Hanningfield the Rural Vision 2009 Award for his work to protect and promote rural communities. The Alliance felt that the involvement and leadership he displayed by his opposition to the second runway at Stansted Airport and to post office closures showed he was a politician with the countryside's future most at heart.
Parliamentary Expenses Scandal
On 5 February 2010 it was announced that Hanningfield would be charged with offences under section 17 of the Theft Act 1968 relating to false accounting for claims for overnight accommodation. He immediately resigned as Opposition Spokesperson for Communities, Local Government and for Transport. Later on that day, he resigned as leader of Essex County Council and David Cameron withdrew the party whip.
On 27 May 2010 Lord Hanningfield, Jim Devine, Elliot Morley and David Chaytor appeared at Southwark Crown Court for a preliminary hearing. Hanningfield's trial at Chelmsford Crown Court began on 16 May 2011. He was charged with six counts of false accounting. Prosecution counsel Clare Montgomery QC accused the peer of claiming for overnight stays in London when he had returned to his Essex home. On one occasion, when he claimed for reimbursement for an overnight stay in London, he was actually on a plane to India.
Hanningfield denied all the charges. He told police he had been 'singled out'; in an interview in August 2009, he had told police: "I have done the same as 500 or 600 other peers." On 26 May 2011, Hanningfield was found guilty on all six counts.
On 1 July 2011, Hanningfield was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment after the court heard evidence from Hanningfield's psychiatrist, Professor Valerie Cowey, stating "he expressed suicidal ideas" and "he told me he would be absolutely crushed by a custodial sentence". The prosecution pointed out that he was well enough to attend House of Lords in the previous week. The sentence was the shortest imposed on anyone convicted in the expenses scandal. Hanningfield's appeal against his conviction was rejected by the Court of Appeal on 20 July 2011.
In October 2011, Hanningfield commenced legal action against Essex Police for wrongful arrest on suspicion of fraudulent use of a county council credit card, a few days after he was released from prison. He sent a letter before the claim informing them that he was seeking £3,000 for unlawful arrest and detention, £1,500 for trespass and £2,000 in costs. In February 2013 he was awarded £3,500 damages for unlawful arrest, and consequentially the search of his home without a search warrant.
In December 2011 the House Committee in the Lords recommended that Baroness Uddin and Lord Hanningfield should not be allowed back to the Lords until the outstanding expenses had been repaid. Hanningfield returned to the House of Lords in April 2012 after repaying £30,000, but did not speak in the chamber until October 2013.
In September 2012 Hanningfield was ordered to repay a further £37,000 covering a 6 year period of expenses, under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Hanningfield stated he would have to raise a mortgage to pay this, and take up after-dinner speaking and attend the House of Lords more often, earning the £300 daily attendance fee, to repay the mortgage.
Form of address
As a baron, Hanningfield is formally described as 'The Right Hon Lord Hanningfield'. As for all peers who are not Privy Councillors, this is usually shortened to 'The Lord Hanningfield'.
- James Drummond (21 February 2013). "Lord Hanningfield wins 3.5k from Essex Police for wrongful arrest". Essex Chronicle. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- "Four will face expenses charges". BBC News. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- "Charged leader of council resigns". BBC News. 5 February 2010.
- "Four in court over expenses". The Scotsman (Edinburgh). 28 May 2010.
- "Lord Hanningfield 'claimed for hotel while on plane'". BBC news. 16 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- "Peerage 'left Tory Lord Hanningfield out of pocket'". BBC News. 17 May 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- "Lord Hanningfield convicted over parliamentary expenses". BBC News. 26 May 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- "Lord Hanningfield jailed for fiddling expenses". BBC News. 1 July 2011.
- "British lawmaker jailed for false expense claims". The Boston Globe.
- "Jailed ex-Tory peer Lord Hanningfield loses appeal". BBC News. 20 July 2011.
- Malik, Shiv (12 September 2011). "Lord Taylor of Warwick and Lord Hanningfield released from jail early". The Guardian (London).
- "Expense: Hanningfield and Taylor freed from jail". BBC News. 12 September 2011.
- "Lord Hanningfield seeking police compensation". Guardian Series. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- "Lord Hanningfield: Peer wins 3,500 damages". BBC. 15 February 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- "Between Lord Hanningfield of Chelmsford and the Chief Constable of Essex Police". High Court of Justice. 15 February 2013.  EWHC 243 (QB). Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- "Expenses: Peers banned from Lords until cash repaid". BBC News. 14 December 2011.
- Sean Clare (24 April 2012). "Expenses peers Uddin and Hanningfield back in Lords". BBC. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "Lord Hanningfield defends 'clocking in' at House of Lords for few minutes to claim £300 allowance". Daily Telegraph. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- "Ex-Tory Lord Hanningfield exposed in 'clocking in' scandal ripping off taxpayers for thousands of pounds". Daily Mirror. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- "'It's unfair' says Lord Hanningfield as he is hit with £37k bill". Essex Chronicle. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "Profile: Lord Hanningfield". BBC News. 26 May 2011.