Expenses-cheat peer ‘will be back’

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Disgraced expenses cheat Lord Hanningfield insisted he had “paid his debt” to society as he pledged to return to the Upper House.

The former Tory, who was released early from jail in September, said he had gone through hell and been left “pretty much destitute” by a £100,000-plus legal bill.

It was right he should be allowed to resume his seat in the Lords, so he could use his experiences for the benefit of others.

He also suggested he had been made a scapegoat for prosecution even though many other peers had misclaimed expenses.

His comments, in a BBC radio interview, came after the Upper House rubber-stamped suspensions of nine months and 12 months respectively for Lord Hanningfield and fellow ex-Conservative Lord Taylor of Warwick.

Because the bans were backdated to the dates of sentencing, Lord Hanningfield will be entitled to return to parliament at the end of May. He was found to have wrongly claimed more than £30,000