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Baroness Uddin avoids criminal prosecution over Maidstone flat expenses

Labour peer Baroness Uddin
Labour peer Baroness Uddin

Labour peer Baroness Uddin will not face a criminal prosecution following a police investigation into her parliamentary allowances - but she WILL be investigated by the House of Lords.

The Baroness gave the address of a flat in Maidstone off Wat Tyler Way as her main home and then claimed subsistance allowances thought to total in the region of £100,000 for staying at her family home in East London.

But the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer has decided it would not be possible to bring a successful prosecution because there was no legal definition in the House of Lords’ expenses scheme for what constituted a main residence.

Mr Starmer said: "Members of the House of Lords are entitled to claim certain expenses under the House of Lords’ expenses scheme and one of those is for ‘night subsistence’. That allowance can only be claimed if a peer whose ‘only or main residence’ is outside London stays ‘overnight’ in London because of House of Lords business.

"The allegation against Baroness Uddin was that she had claimed ‘night subsistence’ for overnight stays in London, after attendances in the House of Lords, to which she was not entitled.

"Although she had nominated a flat she owned in Maidstone as her ‘only or main residence’, it was alleged that ‘her only or main residence’ was in fact a house in east London.

"It was always recognised that the definition of ‘only or main residence’ under the House of Lords’ expenses scheme would be critical to any possible criminal proceedings against Baroness Uddin. However, ‘only or main residence’ is not defined in the House of Lords’ expenses scheme itself; nor is it defined in legislation."

Mr Stramer pointed to a statement by the Clerk of the Parliaments, Michael Pownall, in which it was stated that it was up to "members to designate an address as their main residence as they see fit".

Last month, Mr Pownall stated: "A main residence has to be visited with a degree of frequency: in the order of at least once a month, over the year, when the House is sitting."

Baroness Uddin could still be disciplined by the Lords authorities if they find she breached guidelines for allowances.

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