Lord Bassam, Labour’s soon to be chief whip in the House of Lords has just agreed to repay £41 000 in expenses. The peer claimed a remarkable £260 000 over seven years to cover the cost of his accommodation in London, despite the fact that during that time, he commuted daily to his accommodation in London, a trip for which he claimed an additional £41 000 in travel expenses.
It might appear that logic would dictate that one of these must be a Fraudulent claim, a fraud committed against the UK taxpayer who pays these expenses, given that you can’t do both at the same time!
However, no sanctions or prosecutions were brought against Lord Bassam, because peers of Lord Bassam do not define his actions as a Fraud, just a ‘breach of the rules’.
Imagine if this had been someone in work claiming benefits – it’s pretty much the same thing! It’s a fraud against the UK taxpayer – the state would have taken action action against such a person.
This is a great illustration not only of how crime is socially constructed, but also yet more supporting evidence for the Marxist view of crime – in this case that ‘fraud’ is only ‘fraud’ when it’s being ‘committed’ by the poor.
Lord Bassam is far from the only only criminal peer: a recent study identified 16 ‘silent’ peers who had collectively claimed about £400 000 in expenses and daily allowances, over a year in which they had made no contribution whatsoever to debate.