Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chris cleared

Delighted to hear that Lord Rennard, or Chris, as I know him, has been cleared by the Parliamentary authorities over his expenses.

I didn't blog about the allegations much at the time because, as a friend, I knew I was biased.

I did know, however, that he had moved his home base down to Eastbourne, and am delighted that the evidence backing this up has been properly taken into account.

It was good to see Chris looking so well at conference, and to hear the rousing reception he got at the rally.


Paul Pettinger said...

The Clerk of the Parliaments found that Chris Rennard redesignated his main home in Eastbourne in 2007, when he had already been Chief Executive for some years.

Unless you have forgotten, the party head quarters are in Westminster, in Central London...

May be if you weren't such close friends you might care about fraud in your own party.

Mark Reckons said...

Neil - Sorry about the OT nature of the comment and please feel free to delete it but I was hoping to discuss something with you relating to what we talked about at conference. Could you contact me at markreckons@live.co.uk?



Anonymous said...

He's been cleared of something very specific, breaking Parliament's rules, according to the way Parliament choose to interpret them. And that clearance has been given by an Officer of Parliament, not an objective third party.

That then is no more significant legally or ethically in regards to whether a fraud has been committed than the MPs fees office turning a blind eye to tax-dodging, flipping, or claims for capital repayment on mortgages.

Rather the Clerk has now given licence to every peer to buy a second home for the purpose of maximising their income.

How definitive that is may cause further confusion. Has he for example licensed Taylor of Warwick to claim for a phantom home, or Uddin for a real one she didn't use... not clear at all...

From the full report it is only clear he can prove he owns a second property and uses it on occasion, something never in contention. That may be good enough for Clerk and Liberal Democrats, I question whether it would stand up to much scrutiny externally.

Sunlight might also issue another complaint based on his claims in 2002/03 where he was using his old home in Wokingham as the basis for £22k of allowances. Odd they chose not to put that in the first complaint.

All that is clear so far is that Rennard has successfully gamed the system for personal gain a way most other Lords chose not to do. His only defence for that behaviour was that it was "within the rules", something Parliament has now confirmed.

Not that it was right, necessary, proper, or ethical, but that he could get away with it.

That doesn't make him a saint or innocent, it makes him a successful chancer, an analysis that could be applied to most of his career with the Party.