A PEER and former Hillingdon councillor is maintaining his innocence after being accused of claiming £19,500 in expenses to which he may not have been entitled.
Lord Richard Rosser of Ickenham was inducted into the House of Lords in 2004. He has a home in Witney Close, Ickenham, and another in Chippenham, Wiltshire.
A document revealing peers' expenses in 2007/8 shows he claimed £19,461 as overnight subsistence.
However, his main home was not declared as being either Ickenham or Chippenham, leaving it open to interpretation.
According to the House of Lords expenses rules for overnight subsistence, 'members who choose to travel home each night or whose main residence is within Greater London cannot claim the night subsistence allowance'.
Lord Rosser, 65, has lived in the borough for many years and only bought the Chippenham property two years ago.
An investigation by a national newspaper has accused him of abusing the expenses system by bending the lax rules to claim thousands of pounds, which Lord Rosser vehemently denies.
In a statement to the Gazette, he said: "I have lived in Ickenham for many happy years and continue to have a home here.
"I am entitled under the House of Lords rules to make claims for overnight allowances. The allowances are not in addition to a salary, since members of the House of Lords, apart from Government ministers, are unpaid.
"When I finished full-time employment in early 2004, I was considering moving away from
London, but in the summer of that year I was appointed to the House of Lords. This necessitates having a home in or near London in order to be able to attend, which I have done on nearly every day the House has sat since I became a member five years ago.
"I serve on two major committees of the House and speak regularly in the chamber."
Lords can claim £174 for every night they spend away from their main home if they live out-side London, for which no receipts are required. However, there is no definition of what should count as a main home, despite it being central to claims that have amounted to thousands of pounds a year. [25cf] An official review of the system is to take place in the coming months, with some critics arguing that the upper house should be abolished entirely.
Baroness Uddin of Bethnal Green is the subject of a police investigation after declaring a flat in Kent as her main home, despite the fact that she was found to live in east London. She denies any wrongdoing.
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