Lord Bassam resigns: Labour’s Lords chief whip stands down after expenses row

Labour’s Chief Whip in the House of Lords has said he will resign amid controversy over his expenses claims.

Lord Bassam has told fellow peers that he plans to step down from his role early in 2018, after a replacement has been elected, The Independent understands.

His resignation comes days after it was revealed that he had agreed to repay £41,000 in expenses after admitting he had been wrong to claim them

The peer, who lives in Brighton, had claimed £260,000 over seven years to cover the cost of accommodation in London.

However, he did not stay in London but commuted each day from Brighton, claiming a further £41,000 in the same period to cover the cost of train and taxi fares.

A Labour source told The Independent: “Steve has told fellow members of the Labour Lords group he plans to step down from his role as Opposition Chief Whip early in 2018 once a replacement has been elected by our Peers. 

“It will happen by the end of January or early February, depending on the election timetable.”

A former leader of Brighton Council, Lord Bassam was given a peerage by Tony Blair in 1997 and has been Labour’s Chief Whip in the Lords since 2008. As the holder of the position he attends the Shadow Cabinet. 

As Labour’s Chief Whip in the Lords, Lord Bassam is paid £63,537 a year, with the second home allowance taking his income to just short of £100,000.

When his expenses claims were revealed, he said: “With my home outside London, I have been in receipt of the relevant office holders allowance for the opposition chief whip in the Lords,” he said.

“At the same time, in accordance with rules laid down by the House, I have claimed costs for my regular travel to and from Parliament.

“While I have not been advised that any breach of the rules has taken place, waiving the right to such travel claims would perhaps have been a more appropriate response on my part.”



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