Peer spent thousands of pounds of taxpayers' cash on foreign trips (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Credit card statements released by Essex County Council show Lord Hanningfield spent thousands on foreign trips
DISGRACED former county council leader Lord Hanningfield spent thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money on foreign trips, previously unseen statements reveal.
Lord Hanningfield, who led Essex County Council from 2001 to 2010, was jailed last year for falsely claiming parliamentary expenses.
He served nine weeks of a nine-month sentence and and repaid £28,000 of expenses before being allowed to return to Parliament in March.
Now, after the City of London Police announced they were dropping an investigation into the peer's spending during his time as its leader, the council has published his corporate credit card statements.
The documents detail thousand of transactions - including spending on meals, hotels, train journeys and flights - on Lord Hanningfield's corporate credit card between 2005 and 2010.
Among them is £3,449.64 spent on flights to Sri Lanka, £4,614.48 on flights to China, £5,266 to pay for flights to a 'business event' in India, £4,400.20 on flights to the USA and £5,652.84 on flights to the Bahamas.
In 2007 he spent nearly £50 on travel books about Uganda at Waterstones, Chelmsford, before forking out more than £1,800 for hotels in the country.
He also spent £42.94 on a single breakfast at the Little Chef in Wisley South in 2008 'on the way to Goodwood Awayday' and £71.75 on post-meeting refreshments in Selfridges London's restaurant.
Council leader Peter Martin said: "We are committed to being open and transparent and I am pleased that we are now able to make this information available for the public to view.
"It is important to note that Lord Hanningfield ceased to be a member of Essex County Council in July 2011 after he was convicted of charges relating to fraudulent expense claims submitted to the House of Lords.
"This conviction disqualified Lord Hanningfield from being a Member of the council.
"I am pleased that the police investigation is now closed and we are now able to move on. Lord Hanningfield was obviously a large part of the authority for a number of years but it is three years since he stepped down as leader and a lot has changed since then."
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