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Call for 'clocking in' peer to get life ban

Calls to reform the House of Lords have intensified after it emerged a Tory peer accused of "clocking in" to claim thousands of pounds is to be suspended for less than a year.

Lord Hanningfield has also been told to pay back more than £3,000.

An investigation focused on 11 days last July, during which the peer spent less than 40 minutes on the parliamentary estate.

Despite claiming a £300-a-day "attendance allowance", Lord Hanningfield was unable to show he was doing any parliamentary work, the Lords Privileges and Conduct Committee said.

In a report it made clear that the suspension was the "maximum" sanction they could recommend.

And they admitted there was no minimum amount of time peers have to spend in the Lords in order to claim.

Labour MP John Mann called for a life ban. "If this were a case of a benefits cheat who repeatedly offended he would receive a significant prison sentence," he added.

Jonathan Isaby, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "It's hard to imagine what else Lord Hanningfield could do to be thrown out of the House of Lords for good."

In a statement former pig farmer Lord Hanningfield, 73, said he was unaware that what he was doing was wrong.

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