The Labour peer forced to quit as Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘enforcer’ in the Lords over an expenses scandal has been ordered to repay thousands of pounds.
Lord Bassam was last week instructed to hand back more than £15,000 of wrongly claimed travel costs after a Mail on Sunday investigation.
Standards watchdogs also required the peer to apologise for breaking House of Lords rules.
Lord Bassam quit as Labour’s Chief Whip in the Lords last December after it was revealed that since 2010 he had claimed £41,000 to commute from Brighton to Westminster –while at the same time getting £260,000 from an allowance for senior peers whose main home is not in London. Now the Lords’ standards watchdog, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, has ruled that £15,737 of his travel costs were invalid.
The peer was spared a worse penalty, however, after she decided that he had acted ‘mistakenly, but not dishonestly’ because the rules over Lords’ allowances were not clear.
A review into how Lords’ travel expenses are paid is under way.
Lord Bassam, known as Lord Swampy because of his background as a squatters’ rights leader, said: ‘I have begun paying back the over-claimed travel costs.’