Indo-British Peer Faces Ban Over Parliament Expenses Claim
Lord Amir Bhatia was under investigation by the House of Lords Committee for Privileges and Conduct, which recommended his suspension in a report last Friday.
LONDON – An 84-year-old Indo-British millionaire peer is facing an eight-month suspension from the House of Lords for breaching the British parliament’s expense claim rules for the second time.
Lord Amir Bhatia was under investigation by the House of Lords Committee for Privileges and Conduct, which recommended his suspension in a report on Friday.
The report concluded: “The commissioner found that Lord Bhatia had breached the House of Lords’ rules on financial support for members on 63 occasions from January to July 2010, claiming mileage expenses from the House of Lords while also claiming expenses for the same journeys from another organization.
“The commissioner also found that in submitting the claims Lord Bhatia had breached the code of conduct by failing to act on his personal honour.”
The report’s conclusions will now be taken up in the House of Lords next week for a formal decision on the suspension.
This is the second time Bhatia can be suspended over expenses irregularities, the first time in 2010 after he wrongly claimed 27,446 pounds in overnight allowances and mileage expenses.
The latest incident follows a television broadcast in December 2013 on “BBC Newsnight”, which alleged that Bhatia claimed and received mileage expenses from both the House of Lords and a charity he was involved with, the Ethnic Minority Foundation, in respect of the same journeys.
A complaint was made alleging that Bhatia breached the House’s rules on financial support by such double claiming.
Bhatia admitted to the Lords committee that he had wrongly claimed the mileage expenses from both bodies “due to a system not being in place in his office to prevent double-claiming”.
He said his claims were prepared by his long-standing personal assistant and he signed the forms she prepared.
He apologized and offered to repay the money, the committee’s report notes.
The committee has recommended that he repay the 756 pounds he had wrongly claimed.