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Council calls for money to be paid back

Lord Hanningfield Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Leader of Essex County Council has called on the former council leader Lord Hanningfield to do the right thing and pay back money the council says he owes Essex taxpayers.

The council has decided not to pursue legal action to recover nearly £51,000 from Lord Hanningfield.

But Cllr David Finch said he was still angry and frustrated at the situation and called on Lord Hanningfield to repay the money.

Hanningfield has previously served a jail sentence for fiddling his Parliamentary expenses.

No further action to be taken over disgraced peer

Lord Hanningfield Credit: PA

No further action will be taken against the former leader of Essex County Council Lord Hanningfield.

In a statement the Council's Audit Committee said:

"[we heard] a detailed explanation of the legal risks and issues associated with possible legal action. [we were] advised that, in Counsel’s view the costs of pursuing this case would be significant, with uncertain chances of success.

"She advised that in addition to the significant cost, the Council would also have to invest further considerable officer time trying to prepare for and pursue the case, with unlikely prospects of success.

"It is with huge regret that, having taken account of the legal advice and the advice of our external auditors, we feel we have no alternative but to recommend that no further action be taken in this matter."

The decision on whether to proceed will be taken by the Leader of the Council.


Compensation will go to Essex cancer charity

A former Tory peer found guilty of fiddling his House of Lords expenses, has successfully sued Essex Police over his arrest for a separate fraud allegation.

While Lord Hanningfield was leader of Essex County Council, it was alleged he'd fraudulently used his corporate credit card.

No charges were brought and the 72-year-old claimed he was unlawfully arrested.

Today a High Court judge agreed with him, and awarded £3,500 in damages. Serena Sandhu reports.


Essex Police respond to Lord Hanningfield ruling

Essex Police Credit: PA

Essex Police have issued the following statement in reaction to Lord Hanningfield winning his compensation case.

Essex Police is disappointed with today’s judgment and are considering the merits of appealing the decision.

We note that the court accepted that officers had acted in good faith and that they had honestly believed the arrest was necessary.

The decision to arrest is never taken lightly and we recognise the right of individuals to challenge such decisions before the Courts.

Lord Hanningfield talks about suing Essex Police

He was one of our region's highest profile politicians to be embroiled in the expenses saga - going to prison for fiddling his claims to the House of Lords. But that wasn't the end of Lord Hanningfield's story.

Now back among his Peers at Westminster, he's suing Essex Police - claiming he was falsely arrested during a separate investigation. After the High Court reserved a judgement on that case today,

Lord Hanningfield told our Correspondent Elodie Harper Essex Police were heavy handed - the force denies doing anything wrong.

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