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2 Indian-origin MPs face suspension from Lords
London, Oct 17 (IANS):
Published on 18 Oct. 2010 12:04 AM IST
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Three British lawmakers, including two Indian-origin MPs, probed over the expenses they claimed face suspension from the House of Lords, a media report said Sunday.
The trio -- Lord Swaraj Paul, Lord Amir Bhatia and Bangladeshi-born Baroness Uddin -- are expected to be officially recommended for censure in a statement by the House of Lords authorities, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
Paul, a major Labour party donor, has been recommended for a suspension of between four and six months and has agreed to pay back 40,000 pounds.
Bhatia, who sits as a cross-bencher but has also donated money to Labour, faces a ban of between six and 12 months and is to voluntarily repay 27,000 pounds. Uddin, a Labour peer and the first Muslim woman to be appointed to the upper house, is set to be suspended from the Lords for between a year and 18 months, and has agreed to pay back 125,000 pounds in wrongly claimed expenses.
All three were investigated by the sub-committee on Lords’ interests, a powerful body in the upper house chaired by Baroness Manningham-Buller. Paul and Uddin were referred to the committee after criminal investigations into their cases were dropped.
The investigation followed a series of complaints and questions over alleged abuses of the expenses system in the House of Lords, the report said. Paul, an Indian-born steel tycoon who has donated more than 400,000 pounds to Labour and is close to Gordon Brown, is understood to have already repaid about 38,000 pounds.
He admitted that he never spent a single night at an Oxfordshire flat that he registered as his main home while claiming money in overnight expenses for a London property.
Bhatia, another millionaire, has a 1.5 million pounds home in southwest London but in 2007 he “flipped” the designation of his main home to a two-bedroom flat in Surrey county, which used to be lived in by his brother, the paper said.
A House spokesman said Saturday night he could not comment on the latest revelations about the trio.
Last year, two Labour peers -- Lord Taylor of Blackburn and Lord Truscott -- were suspended from the House of Lords for six months for misconduct, the first such action since the 17th century. They were found by a Lords committee to be willing to change laws in exchange for cash.

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