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My Lords, this is the second time that the House has considered a Motion on the conduct of Lord Bhatia. In 2010, the House suspended him for eight months for wrongly designating his main residence and claiming £27,466 in overnight subsistence and mileage expenses. The report before us today concerns his claims for mileage expenses from January to July 2010.
Following an allegation made on the BBC’s “Newsnight” programme, the House’s independent Commissioner for Standards investigated Lord Bhatia, and found that on 63 days he double-claimed for mileage expenses both from the House and from a charity that he was then involved with, the Ethnic Minority Foundation. The commissioner found that he breached the House’s rules on financial support for Members, and so breached the Code of Conduct. The commissioner also found that, in not being scrupulous about his claims, he had,
“failed to act on his personal honour.”
The Sub-Committee on Lords’ Conduct recommended that Lord Bhatia be suspended from the House for eight months and required to repay the £756 he wrongly claimed. He appealed to the Committee for Privileges and Conduct and the committee considered his appeal last week. Having carefully considered the points that he put, the committee decided to dismiss his appeal and upheld the findings of the Commissioner and the recommendations of the Sub-Committee on Lords’ Conduct.