Paul White, Baron Hanningfield
|Paul White, Baron Hanningfield|
|Former Leader of Essex County Council|
2001 – 5 February 2010
|Succeeded by||Peter Martin|
16 September 1940 |
Chelmsford, United Kingdom
|Political party||No affiliation (former Conservative, whip withdrawn)|
Paul Edward Winston White DL (born 16 September 1940) is an inactive member of the House of Lords and was a British Conservative Party politician until early 2010, when the whip was withdrawn from him as a result of investigations into his criminal behaviour in relation to his Parliamentary expenses claims. Paul White sat on the Conservative side on Essex County Council until after the meeting of that body on 12 May 2011.
The son of Edward Ernest William White and Irene Joyce Gertrude Williamson, he was educated at King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford and has received a Nuffield Scholarship for Agriculture.
In 1962 he 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. Paul White was also chair of the Council of Local Education Authorities between 1990 and 1992, leader of Association of County Councils between 1995 and 1997. From 1997 to 2001, he 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.
Lobbying for rural communities
On 18 March 2009 the Countryside Alliance awarded him the Rural Vision 2009 Award for his work to protect and promote rural communities. The Alliance felt his involvement and leadership on issues such as fighting against the second runway at Stansted and post office closures showed he was a politician with the countryside's future most at heart.
Offences under the Theft Act
On 5 February 2010 it was announced that Paul White 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 Paul White, Jim Devine, Elliot Morley and David Chaytor appeared at Southwark Crown Court for a preliminary hearing. Paul White'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.
White 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, White was found guilty on all six counts.
On 1 July 2011, Paul White was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment after the court heard evidence from Paul White's psychiatrist, Proff 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.
Paul White's expenses from when he was leader of Essex County Council are also under police investigation.
In October 2011, it was reported that Paul White was to take legal action against Essex Police for wrongful arrest. 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.
Paul White has apparently started, since at least October 2012 when he received £4,800, to claim allowances from the House of Lords again, despite not having spoken in the Chamber since his conviction in 2011.
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- "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 White out of pocket'". BBC News. 17 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- "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.
- "Shamed peer Lord Hanningfield's council allowance stopped". BBC News. 12 July 2011.
- "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.
- "Expenses: Peers banned from Lords until cash repaid". BBC News. 14 December 2011.
- "Profile: Lord Hanningfield". BBC News. 26 May 2011.