1. ITV Report

Peer's council credit card spending

Lord Hanningfield. Photo: PA

A disgraced Tory peer jailed for fiddling his Parliamentary expenses also ran up nearly £300,000 on a council credit card.

Lord Hanningfield, the former leader of Essex County Council, spent tens of thousands of pounds of public money on flights to exotic destinations such as the Bahamas and India.

He also stayed in luxury hotels using the credit card to visit the United States, the Bahamas, India, Paris and Rome.

Other purchases included a a day at Goodwood Racecourse at a cost of £230.

Details of the £286,000 bill he racked up between 2005 and 2010 emerged in a report published by the council days after City of London Police announced it would be taking no action against him because of insufficient evidence.

The report revealed Lord Hanningfield received a further £236,644 in allowances and expenses between 2006 and 2011 – making a total of more than £500,000 in six years.

It stated that although Lord Hanningfield, 71, reimbursed costs identified as being personal spending, there had been issues with lack of receipts and expenditure above recommended guidelines.

The council admitted controls on its former leader’s spending had not been sufficiently "stringent".

Lord Hanningfield, whose real name is Paul White, was elevated to the House of Lords in 1998 and served as a Tory whip and Opposition spokesman on education and transport.

He served nine weeks of a nine-month jail term and was ordered to pay back more than £30,000 after being found guilty of six counts of false accounting in May last year at Chelmsford Crown Court.