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Parliament looking into peer’s expenses claim for 2nd home

PUBLISHED: 17:13 08 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:20 05 October 2010

BARONESS Uddin is to be investigated by the Clerk of the Parliaments, the accounting officer of the House of Lords. The investigation follows claims reported in a Sunday newspaper that she declared a small flat in Maidstone, Kent, as her principal residence for her expenses—even though she says on the Lords website the East End has been her home for 30 years

BARONESS Uddin is to be investigated by the Clerk of the Parliaments Michal Pownall, the official accounting officer of the House of Lords, it has emerged this week.

The investigation follows claims reported in a Sunday newspaper that Baroness Uddin of Bethnal Green declared a small flat in Maidstone, Kent, as her principal residence for her expenses—even though she says on the Lords website the East End has been her home for 30 years.

She lives with her family in a house in Wapping, near the Tower of London, owned by Spitalfields housing association.

Neighbours next to the two-bedroom flat in Maidstone she owns were reported in the Sunday Times saying the property has been empty for a number of years since it was bought in 2005.

PEER’S CLAIMS

Mr Pownall will examine the peer’s claims and report his findings to a committee of the Lords which will then decide whether any further action is required.

Baroness Uddin, who was deputy leader of Tower Hamlets council in East London in the early 1990s, had earlier responded to the press reports about her Parliamentary expenses by issuing a statement through her solicitors Carter Ruck which said: “I do not believe I have done anything wrong or breached any House of Lords rules.

“The house in Wapping is rented, while I own the property in Maidstone which is furnished—I strongly deny I have never lived there. I have stayed there regularly since buying it.”

NO WRONGDOING

Following announcement of the review, Baroness Uddin said: “I welcome this review and will co-operate fully in the hope of a speedy resolution and clarify that I did not break the rules of the House.”

The peer has denied any wrongdoing and said she would make no further statement until the investigation is complete.

She became Britain’s first Muslim woman peer in 1998 and was a close friend of the-then Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife.


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