Page last updated at 16:49 GMT, Friday, 3 July 2009 17:49 UK

Peer accuses MP of expenses smear

Lord Hanningfield
Lord Hanningfield said Lords authorities had 'no complaints' about his claims

A Tory peer referred to the police over expenses says it is part of a campaign of "attacks and innuendo" by an MP.

Lord Hanningfield claimed the unnamed MP was determined to "blacken my name" over education policy in Essex, where the peer is council leader.

The frontbencher claimed £99,970 over seven years for the cost of staying in London, despite living 40 miles away.

Lib Dem MP Bob Russell said he believed the peer was referring to him but added he was only interested in the facts.

Last month Scotland Yard announced it would launch an investigation into the alleged misuse of expenses by a small number of MPs and peers.

'No complaint'

A spokesman said they were "not discussing names or the political affiliations of those under investigation".

But Lord Hanningfield, a transport spokesman for the Conservatives in the Lords, issued a statement defending his record, after the Daily Telegraph ran a story headlined "Yard quiz Tory peer over expenses claim".

He said the complaint was made by a Lib Dem MP adding: "This MP has been determined to blacken my name with personal attacks in the press and in Parliament for actions that I have taken in trying to improve the quality of education in Essex.

"Discussion and debate over policy has given way to personal attacks and innuendo.

"The House of Lords authorities have no complaint in relation to my expenses and I am satisfied that I can account for them."

Colchester MP Bob Russell, who raised Lord Hanningfield's claims in the House of Commons on 21 June, did not confirm that he had made the complaint to police.

But he said: "I have drawn to the attention of various authorities matters which I think are of concern which need looking at."

Asked if he was attempting to smear the peer, he said: "He's entitled to say what he wants. My job is to unearth the facts as I understand them and present them to the appropriate bodies to look at."

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